BY GUEST CONTRIBUTOR CHAS DE WHALLEY
They say that nostalgia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But we don’t think that Mike Tripp would agree with you. We think he’d say it can be oddly therapeutic too. After narrowly missing the cut last year with a moody rocker called ‘Home’, Mike’s back again, working under the nom de band of Wilfred, with an unashamed homage to one of the 1980s seminal indie acts: Echo & The Bunnymen. Not only does ‘Better Now’ do a great job of replicating the Bunnymen’s spare style and signature sound but it even namechecks their lead guitarist! However. Be warned. This song is by no means frivolous. As you will discover if you go to our This Year’s Entries page, click on Wilfred’s ‘Open Track Lyrics’ icon and read what he has to say about how he came to write ‘Better Now’. It’s quietly moving.
For one reason or another, Frostbiter’s OTL button doesn’t give up quite as much info as you might expect, given that the artists are actually Paul Keyes and Amber from The Dust Bunniez who have been regulars at folk nights around Minchinhampton and Stroud for the last couple of years. Individually they both made it to last year’s SSC Grand Final and teamed up soon after. Paul confesses that their timelessly tuneful ‘So What’ is the dusted-off backing track of one of, we believe, scores of soft rock songs he has written over the years. This one has clearly had new life breathed into it by the addition of Amber’s soulful vocal harmonies. It’s also more warming than the handle of Frostbiter might suggest.
But what’s in a name, eh? Sometimes they can be little short of gobbledegook but nevertheless capture the spirit of the band in question and their music.
So we’re wondering whether the four guys and one gal who make up Bramble Goat came up with this one after one too many pints at an open Mic Night at the Crown And Sceptre where, it sez here, they are regulars. Their infectiously singalong ‘My Cat Thinks I’m A Loser’ boasts wonderfully witty words (courtesy of lead singer Tim Harris) married to a gloriously ramshackle country blues rhythm and all topped off by a real downhome slide guitar solo. If you’re thinking of placing bets on this year’s SSC, you could do worse than putting a pound or two on Bramble Goat to show.
And then, just to underline how brilliant this year’s SSC entries are, tumbling into the inbox on the hottest day of the summer comes ‘Heir ‘by Uplands resident George Lunn. This was written to help get over a tough break-up? Well that’s what he says but you’d never guess it cos ‘Heir’ is a truly uplifting piece of 80s stylee synthpop – complete with some genuinely vintage analogue keyboard sounds and a couple of moments where you want to punch the air as the chorus kicks in. Imagine Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark on steroids and you’re getting there. Phew!