Every Christmas The Shoracle buys me a record of something I’ve never heard before. It’s an exciting gift experience that has always yielded great results given that as a being of near psychic power such as The Shoracle is able to calculate someone’s exact musical proclivities. Last Christmas I received a very interesting album shrouded in mystery and surprise. The album itself, released last year is titled ‘By Order of The Moose’ and there is nothing about it physically that lends any indication to what the music on the record may sound like. Perfect.
It transpired that the entire album is utterly beautiful with each track subtlety unique yet consistent to the last and next. I’ve listened to it many times, including thrice yesterday and I daresay I will listen to it many times more. When I first heard that the band responsible for creating this masterpiece were due to play at Le Pub I bought a ticket there and then and made an effort to write it down in every conceivable location so that I wouldn’t forget.
AT was coming along for the show and pointed out that 39th & The Nortons were supporting, we had caught their fantastic set only a few days prior at Bristol Psych Fest. We were quite excited to be able to see them again and noted that the smaller venue and perhaps more focus on our part would let us explore their sound further. Sure enough we noticed more of the nuances and finer details to each song, things that we hadn’t noticed on Saturday whilst being so consistently blown away and overcome with dance-like motions.
A quick recap (as you can read about our initial experience in our story about Psych Fest), 39th & The Nortons are a Parisian Psych band that encapsulates the earlier sound of psych blended with garage and pop / beat. It’s an area of the Psych world that brings both excitement and nostalgia, having grown up listening to a plethora of music including an extensive list of bands produced by Joe Meek this particular area of almost experimental pre-punk appeals to me greatly.
Seeing them again also provided us an opportunity to catch up with the band who were on a UK tour at the time before heading back home, to our surprise and merriment they recognised us from Saturday and even had our card that we had handed to them! It’s nice to feel loved.
Following on from a solid opening set was;
Straight up these guys weren’t what I was expecting. I hadn’t done very much research on them but I did find out that they come from Neath, the birthplace of The Shoracle, the very person who bought me their album… cosmic. But for some reason I pictured them as a newly established band, possibly youngsters who had discovered their parent’s record collection and had allowed it to mould their minds. I was wrong.
That’s not to say that El Goodo is populated by elderly people (not that that would be an issue) but yeah, I was surprised that it turned out they’re all friends who have been making music for years who for some reason hadn’t put out a great deal between their first album in 2010 and The Order of The Moose in 2017. There is that old saying about assumptions, take heed for next time Duke.
However, I was not perturbed one bit (that’s not how we operate here) and they went straight into it and blew me away from the first note. Honestly, it completely baffles me as to why they’re not as big or as well known as I think they should be. If the reason for a seven year space between the albums was simply down to craftsmanship of each song I could understand because they put everything into every audible second of their songs.
They provide an endless soundscape, the likes you get with good Americana but these guys are more rock, but it’s not rock it’s maybe more Western sounding, with strokes of country and folk but uptempo like good indie on the radio but also not… it’s difficult to pin down, they possess a completely timeless quality and I daresay if you listened to the album without knowing when it was released you’d be stumped to pick a date. If I had to pick one other band that possess the craft, skill, beauty and in some cases similar sound I’d go for The Beach Boys but y’know, that’s if I have a gun to my head because I don’t believe that band comparisons offer any real clarity or understanding of another bands sound.
What made the show even greater was that between songs they were completely themselves, a group of middle-aged men who’d figured the rock dream wasn’t going to pay the bills having a good time on stage. Combine into that the dry, yet powerful depreciating wit of someone from Neath and you’ve got yourself some class A between-song comedy.
‘Someone go get me rum and coke please, I’m dyin’ up here. The next one’s crap anyway so you’ve got time’ – Lead singer person. ‘This next one’s about our music career, it’s called; it’s over.’
Given that, to me these are guys who could afford to be cocky and ‘giving it all that’ based on their musical skill it was refreshing to see that they weren’t.
I would have been quite content for them to have carried on playing for at least 9 hours, but y’know curfews and work commitments!
A truly exceptional show and I advise you to come along with me to see them at the next available opportunity. Or book them for a BBQ or wedding, I’m sure they’ll do that. And don’t be fooled by Googling them and seeing that they’ve classed their genre as: House & Pop. Very good!