MARK FRANCOMBE Musician, Filmmaker, Game-designer & Kipple-monger

If only there were something by EXP

eXp is the nom de plume of one Phil Cooper and releases on Zimmer Recordsanother Net label, If only there were something.
I’ve been meaning to listen to this for about a month since I got it for review, and to be honest, its a bit of a mixed bag; but 20 minutes ago, I was kicking myself for not having listened to this earlier, because the opener When you take me down is a track I should NOT have waited for, and have wasted a month NOT being aware of! Its so full of influences and memories of long forgoton music, obscure things I used to listen to but can’t for the life of me remember. The vocals are a slightly clearer and less hazy Pete Kember (Sonic Boom) from Spaceman 3, monosynths wobble like… oh…who was it? Can’t remember… theres a gliding synth that sounds like a 70’s wildlife theme tune and some seriously dodgy slap bass! But I love it… It reminds me of music thats donkeys years ago, and sold 25 copies to weirdos. (Want the list? Young Marble Giants, Pink Military, Delta 5, Lemon Kittens… See! Told you it was obscure!) So… it reminds me of a lot, but so what?

The standard is not quite this high all the way through the album, and most of it definitely has a bit of a home made sound that could do with a bit of production. The drum machine relentlessly tick tocks throughout and I would prefer real drums in this context, but I think Mr Cooper is actually trying to achieve a bit of 80’s nostalgia by using it.
Both Shine and The Sun are excellent songs however, they just need a bit of a tart up!

The duelling Fahey-ish guitars on thoughts are either not tight enough or loose enough, but an interesting soundscape is achieved on is there anything where the title is sung over and over, on a bed of sea and wave sounds, a metronomic beat chopping in and out. If only there were something is the let down though, just a bit of a messy pseudo weirdness to end the album… I give When you take me down another listen, and sure enough, it WAS as good as I thought and goes straight onto my ipod.

If Phil Cooper aka eXp only recorded this song and then got hit by a train, he would have left a pretty good mark on the world, and for that his mum should be proud!

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