Desert Island #2: Flaming Tunes

flamingtunesSo this one is totally obvious. I’ve yammered on and on about how Flaming Tunes is one of my favorite albums ever recorded to anyone who would listen for the past however many years. It never gets old. Every week I pull it out and marvel at how good it is and how much it still means to me and is still influencing the work I do.  Anyway, I wrote this review for Experimedia a few years ago, but it’s apt:

Straight up I’m going to say that Flaming Tunes probably ranks in my 10 or 15 favorite albums ever. It’s stunning to think that this album was recorded in the early/mid 80s. It achieves something that few albums do in that it is absolutely timeless music. It could exist in any era and not sound out of place. Gareth Williams is obviously best known for his work in This Heat, but Flaming Tunes is something else entirely and hits me a lot harder. It destroys me every time. The lazy whimsical feel of “The Best Weapon” as it longingly rolls along, stuck staring forward. Dub infused riddim allows “Breast Stroke” to paint sonic sand castles with strings and piano. “Beguiling the Hours” is a perfect pop oddity with clattering percussion and spastic horns squeals as Williams voice works to guide you through the sideshow. And it’s pretty damn catchy too. It’s almost overpowering how, once you get into the guts of Flaming Tunes, how it completely wraps itself around you. Underpinned by a recording of crickets and rain, “Raindrops From Heaven” is the spiritual centerpoint of the record. Even with it’s minimal approach, the rich atmosphere created by the field recordings, lumbering percussion, and thoughtful piano progressions. It’s so simple and so wonderful. There’s such a tangible quality to the music – the layers of melody, the dilapidated electronic beats, and their voices – all of it works together to project such vivid imagery and texture. It creates memories of a place you’ve never been yet can’t forget. And yet it’s the mischievous quality of music and lyrics that makes it all stick. F” never takes itself too serious and never loses the feeling of joy that its permeated by. This is such a great record – I seriously can’t recommend it enough.

Now we just need that Lifetones reissue eh?

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