Album Review – Dénouement: The Art of English Summer by English Summer (2022) (Too Good To Be True Records)
English Summer is the solo recording project of Caleb Carr of Clare, Australia and Dénouement: The Art of English Summer is something of a final chapter of that particular act, as he has recently changed his name to join all the multitude of acts using the Arts & Letters moniker (the recent music of his particular version is still truly superb and can be found here).
Essentially, the modus operandi of this act is all about mixtures. A mixture of the best of late 80s and early 90s sounds to be precise, which are encapsulated on this retropsoective compilation, in three distinct nuances.
Initially, An English Summers Day, A New Colour For You, the superlative standout of Our Compromise and Holding Against Our Own, all follow the good and proper route that any self respecting 80/90s jangle-pop connossieur should, with aural textures that are steeped in Morrissey type vocal inflections and a perfect mixture of lucid Marr-esque and the retropsective fluttering riffs of so many of the Sarah Records acts. Beautiful, with an end product that borders on subtle cinematic, Carr excels in offering something new from the juxtaposition of the best of yesteryear’s jangle retro.
The rest of the release revolves around jangle dark and light. The ‘light’ is best represented by She’s Falling Down (The Art of Gracelessly Falling Apart) (demo), I Know You and Last September. These tracks offer the lucid jangled riffs of the aforementioned tracks and augment them with a sprightly vibrancy that would be almost surf rock in texture, if it was not for Carr’s dulcet croon keeping them grounded.
Finally, the ‘dark’ is assumed in the more dream-pop / gaze laden sounds of Settle Here With Me, Tower of Waves and Celebration, which take on the jangle-gaze modernity of acts like Wake In june and early Foliage, whereas I Dream (Demo) and I’ll Help You, move more towards the jangly dream-pop of acts like Community Swimming Pool and Swiss Portrait.
This release serves to emphasis just how proud Caleb Carr should be of his English Summer output. Thankfully his Arts & Letters project seems to be following a similar brilliant pattern….Grab yourself a CD here.