Send me your track


Hatchback - Colours of the Sun


I was alerted to this album through the proviso that it sounded like “Dennis Wilson meeting Kraftwerk meeting Neu!”. Now I guess the first lesson is that you should never, ever take any notice of anyone saying “it sounds like x + y” because to anyone with any sort of musical imagination, your thoughts run riot and ultimately you’re left disappointed. This is why I never take any notice of uber-tit Bobby Gillespie and the accompanying blurb from him that accompanies any new Primal Scream album.

Hatchback is otherwise known as Sam Grawe, who appropriately calls California his home. His choice for a pseudonym seems inappropriate, in that it summons up images of something compact and utilitarian, rather than expansive and luxurious, which is at least what the music on this album tries to convey. Grawe is part of a West Coast scene that is summoning up the old spirit of Balearic, joining forces with Daniel Saxon Judd (aka Sorcerer) on another project called Windsurf this yeark, Judd also contributing guitar to this album. Alongside Scandinavians like Lindstrom and the likes of Full Pupp, they’re part of a burgeoning renaissance of Balearic music, an odd and somewhat esoteric term used to describe anything that could be uplifting and made in the 80’s in the interregnum between Disco’s death and the birth of House.

As such, it’s difficult to be surprised by “Colours of the Sun”.Lush keyboards, Fender Rhodes, laidback drumming, shimmering sequenced melodic tropes and an everpresent feeling of not making too much effort pervade the album. To be fair Grawe has made an album to enjoy in a certain place, a soundtrack as it were to a particular time or feeling. I’m sitting here writing this review as the sun cascades through the windows on a gorgeous October morning and the opening bars of “White Diamond”, with its beguiling meandering intro make sense, with an everso vague hint of the embryonic warmth that Boards of Canada managed to produce as well. Only once does Grawe up the tempo, inflecting “Everything is New” with, hey, a little bit of the late Klaus Dinger’s legendary motorik tempo. No surprise there then. We’re even treated to an epic 16 minute song to close the album that owes everything to Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel.

Like Lindstrom’s debut album, this is a carefully crafted piece that is perfectly reasonable to listen to, but ultimately therein lies its inherent weakness. There’s no real sense of emotional attachment to any of the pieces, and by recalling the musical spirits of his influences in their entirety, he has left little of his own input on the canvas.

Toby Frith

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