Graham Reid | | 1 min read
With the subtitle “work in progress 2019-2020” and a blurb which downplays expectations (“raw unformed things that the world was not meant to hear”) the New Existentialists neatly present 10 songs as rough drafts completed during lockdown by synth player Fraser Hunter who co-produced this with mainman George D Henderson (the Puddle).
And although pleasing ragged (ragged but right, as they say), these wry songs are not to be underestimated: Old Square Hip Cats is an enjoyably barbed poke at suburban alt.country types whose heads are in Wichita, Arizona or some romantically distant cliché; Booklovers is a dreamy lightlydelic ballad which celebrates books at one point from the viewpoint of a book and includes some lovely couplets (“booklovers, young mothers/wise words in new covers”) and the angular pop of Existential Vibration carries a skeptical warning about those who are the new sensation/preachin' devils when the answer is inside you already.
With bassist/singer Jamie Holloway and drummer Ned Bycroft, multinstrumentalists Henderson and Hunter also deliver the stately, slow metaphorical ballad Eely and the lo-fi rock of of Stonkin'.
And right at the end Henderson gets on what sounds like a battered old upright for some quiet paranoia on The Age of Anxiety: “I rented a house in the Age of Anxiety, quiet as a mouse as the gendarmerie looked for me . . . dark lanterns about on the borders of night, wait for me by the drop-zone . . . there were plants in my bed, now there's bugs in my wall”.
Don't be fooled by the underselling. There's some disturbing and disturbingly good, albeit raw, material here.
This is available on bandcamp here where you can name your own price.