Monday 15 April 2013


Better late than never. It's a nice saying, especially for those who tend to do things later rather than sooner. Ahem.

A long time ago I came across a band from Japan called OLDTIMER - at that point all they had up on their SoundCloud page were a few live songs. But what was there sounded really good, brimmed with energy and all the like - just how GOOD live music should be. I liked it a lot, but there weren't any studio recordings. Then an EP appeared and they sent it over (air mail), for which I was really grateful. But then Yes/No Music tumbled and fell and lay there twitching...

... Fast forward a few months and here is OLDTIMER's My Girl EP in all its glory. It's full of promise and potential.

Starting at the start we have 'Caravan', an atmospheric and echoing track whose juddering guitars and clean drums wouldn't sound out of place at the end of the '80s, just outside Manchester. Spacey distorted guitars swoop in the background as the plucky bassline carries the song onwards and onwards. The break brings jangling distorted guitars back, sounding expertly 'Madchester'. Vocals are clean and unassuming, lending themselves to the aesthetic of the song.

The same vocals provide the hook in title track 'My Girl', with a lot of ooo-ooo-ooo'ing going on. This is a much poppier number - up-tempo, though still with the smack-you-in-the-face distorted guitars washing over everything. Just as with 'Caravan' the verses build to a peak where the chorus sits, providing the song with a rising/falling dynamic that feels nice on the old ears. There's a guitar solo in here that screams toward the end. It's a driving song, definitely. All you need is a road and some sunglasses.

Then, what a surprise this is. 'Slowly Decaying' is a veritable assault on the eardrums. Towering, endlessly clashing distorted guitar storms all around, almost like white noise. The vocals, soft and achingly plaintive, provide a huge contrast to the gigantic guitar. In the verse, though, guitars moan like low flying and jangle quietly off-balance. It's melancholy, slow, as shoegaze as you like. The drums crescendo towards the end, just what you want to hear: it's not a mad one till the drums are going mad too.

It's tantalising glimpse into what this band can do. Production-wise, they could go lo-fi - that's why I liked the live recordings so much, the raw nature of them suited the style perfectly. Other than that, it's a fine first EP - I look forward to the next.

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Listen to OLDTIMER on Soundcloud
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