Sunday, 25 June 2017

Album: Mark Buckeridge - Coastal Sunshine

Mark Buckeridge Coastal Sunshine

Info: Experimental indie solo act Mark Buckeridge has been a firm favourite of music websites both at home in Ireland and abroad since starting to write and release music back in 2012, but really grabbed attention with the wonderful 2014 EP, Talking Is Good For You, DIY heaven across 5 tracks. In 2015 he released the lo-fi pop single, 'So Long' which was nothing but delightful, and now we have the first full-length debut album, Coastal Sunshine, released on the 19th of June last week.

'Lecture #1' immediately tells us that things have moved forward once again in Buckeridge's style, a full frontal spoken-word assault on the senses, like Velvet Underground or The Doors getting their angry punk on, the track has that acid-psychedelic feel to it, with its protagonist showing a public display of madness on stage to an audience that you imagine only exists in his head, there may not even be a stage at all either.

More other-worldly sounds greet us on 'All I Want To Do Is Cry', with Buckeridge displaying his trademark ability to be wildly experimental yet throw enough of a pop strand into the mixer to make you want to dance. This is a pretty special moment early on, you imagine late 70's post-punk dancehall scenes, snappy drum-pad beats and a Joy Division-esque call and response chorus, it's just such a treat to listen to.

After a brief just under 90 seconds minimalist orchestral instrumental on 'Bronze', we go full psych-hog on the album's title-track. Plodding deep and dark piano tones play the backdrop to Buckeridge's passioned yet despondent vocal, imagine Serge Gainsbourg cool vibes reeling in the drama of Elton John or Billy Joel, that's the middle ground you'll find 'Coastal Sunshine' inhabiting, and it's gorgeous.

Mark Buckeridge - Coastal Sunshine

Then a change, on 'Audio 41' Buckeridge gets his 80's synth on, the determined bass-line like some wonderfully gothic reimagining of the intro theme to Knight Rider, and it also marks the crossover point of the album. A sad sax note wails morosely in the background at the track's beginning on 'Group Singing', it's a haunting environment, and exemplifies the artist's care-free approach to his song-writing, rules are out the window, and this is what allows his music and our imaginations to flourish.

On 'Streaming', I'm expecting two things to happen after the opening electronic beat, the Run DMC vs. Aerosmith 'Walk This Way' guitar solo to kick in, or The Beastie Boys to start spitting rhymes. Neither happen, unsurprisingly, and we have a moment of calm to absorb, with Buckeridge accompanying us with his nonchalant vocal. 

Coastal Sunshine wraps up with 'DDDDDDADA', no, it's not the chord progression to an Oasis song, but it is a power-packed finale to the album, it's like all of the little moments of madness across the album have gathered in one room and Mark Buckeridge relishes in their presence together. He kicks out the jams, rattles manically through verse and chorus and then slips out the side door while we're still dancing away. Like a DIY Frank Zappa, Mark Buckeridge is a standalone talent when it comes to writing music and creating listenable to chaos, it's warm, frightening and invigorating all at once, cherish him!

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