Sunday, January 4, 2009

Flowchart - Sideshow All The Way

(Motorway, 1996)

In the liners for Flowchart’s singles comp (on which both of these songs appear), top-dog Sean O’Neal makes eye-rolling mention of the endless comparisons between his band and Stereolab. Now, I can understand the guy’s frustration at his work perhaps not being taken on its own terms, but shucks… how can anyone possibly listen to something like “Sideshow All the Way,” with its bouncy, feel-good, island-in-the-stratosphere Stereolabisms, and “Dainty Pilgrimage” – all burbling synths, German beats, and cooing vocals – and not think of Gane and co.? They can’t! Nope! But I’ll tell you this: any parallels drawn are certainly positive ones, because O’Neal has constructed a coupla excellent tunes here that may tread ground similar to – similar to, not derivative of – his more famous counterparts, but there oughta be more than enough room in any Frank or Jill’s collection for work from both bands. The handful of Flowchart EPs and singles I own (all from 1994 – 1997) are uniformly OK, and I can safely recommend any of ’em to people I don’t dislike. Even if I can’t say that I’m so sure about the apparently more club-oriented late-period releases, I’ll raise my megaphone and shout that the early stuff will always make for a dime well-spent.

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