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28 November 2009

Bent Leg Fatima (File 13)

To all those of you who own this record, I ask, 'When was the last time you listened to it?' Cause I was about to lament this as a great forgotten psych-pop record, but then I started thinking about how much I overuse the idea of the 'forgotten' here on the Underbite ... forgotten exactly by whom? I often make the mistake of assuming some sort of hive mind of music listeners, inadvertently projecting my own biases and beliefs onto the rest of you. It's been years since I've given this a spin, and once the first proper song began ('Cup and Saucer') I started thinking about how this should get more play. There's a lot of creaking and bending despite it being a fairly driven Krauty-jam, and the singing/vocalisations are bright and melodic while still maintaining an aura of the mystic. When Bent Leg Fatima step on the more acoustic/folky gears, it reminds me more of something like Bügsküll. There's something unmistakably 90s indie pop about it, but it's melting under weird artefacts: Alice Coltrane records covered in butter, canyon cinemas projected backwards, and frogs leaping to wrong time signatures. They know when to accentuate things with studio fuckery, but they don't overdo it. Things sounded a bit simpler then; later these dudes morphed into party-Kraut-Hee Haw revival band Need New Body, but I think they were still ascending at this point. Both bands share a proclivity for horizontal (or go-nowhere, if you prefer) instrumentals, based among a deep rhythm, though Bent Leg's are much more chilled out. There's guitars but they don't dominate - the organs and electric pianos shoot out jumpy and high strung, plucky staccato arrows occasionally turning into lightning. The balance is split quite nicely between 'pop' and instrumental; you can pick your favorites but they're interspersed perfectly. Just when I start to get bored with the synths and wispy atmospherics, someone starts to croon about a mouse or a cat again. Though judging from the titles, these guys were also writing about Hemingway and Yachts. Psychedelphia's take on "Yacht Rock"? I don't hear much of a Christopher Cross influence, but maybe I'm just not trying hard enough. Did I mention how great the production is? The drums sound like drums, and this sounds like a real band playing on top but it's somehow modern and retro at the same time.

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