LOCAL MUSIC REVIEW: AME BLEU – OTTER TRASH EP

otter trashEmily Carney was one fifth of Barnsley’s brilliant alternative rock/post-grunge band Majority Vote. They were one of my favourite local bands of 2012 and their Playtime’s Over EP was a sign of great things to up. However, time was called early on the band after a messy split and although Emily tried to carrying take Majority Vote forward with new members and a different line-up, it wasn’t meant to be and now her debut solo project Ame Bleu sees the light of day and coincides with her full debut gig as a solo artist at The Cafe Bar Live, Barnsley.

If you were expecting a cacophony of Courtney Love grrr and Joan Jett oomph, then this ain’t what you’re looking for. Otter Trash is the debut EP by Ame Bleu and follows in the foots steps of The Moldy Peaches, Antsy Pants and brings to mind acts such as Daniel Johnston, Cake and Jeffrey Lewis.

The EP comprises of four ‘proper’ songs, intercut with interludes, soundscapes and experiments in aural collage. In fact, you could compare the entire EP to a scrap-book of sounds, thoughts and ideas compiled into a pleasing, if what a sometimes delightfully messy twenty minutes. Influences are pasted down for all to see – musically and politically.

Opening song Crying Over You is an apologetic love song which could easily be mistaken for Kimya Dawson. The song is a lovely collision of three (?) guitars, toy piano, home-made percussion and fuzz, intercut with a randomly placed sample of The Young Heartbreakers Club by Bleach Blood. It is the work of someone with a restless mind and an openness to be admired and second track Romeo Wasn’t Built in a Day exemplifies that.
In Limbo Part III is a beautiful instrumental interlude of two twinkling guitars; one holding the rhythm and another skipping haphazardly over it, and We Are All Pussy Riot is a track that features Wakefield’s acoustic punk Louise Distras’ well know open letter speech from youtube, backed by Emily’s distorted climbing guitars.

The EP’s closing tracks are where Emily’s song-writing really flourishes. Eye For A Gemini is a simple and vulnerable love song, and apparently written by Emily when she was just sixteen. It comes complete with xylophone-like keys and guitar that reminds me of certain Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie b-sides, especially those written by James Iha. It is also my favourite tracks here. Closing track Dogma, has a wha drenched clean guitar riff with milk bottle and spoon klanks taking centre stage.

While it is hard to pin down some kind of genre to cover the sound here – Anti-Folk, Folk Punk, everything however is definitely Low-Fi, down to the loosely tuned guitars, the rhythms which comes and go as they please and the brilliant deodorant can percussion. I like the fact that this is like listening to someone’s sketch book. It makes for a refreshing change and while some people will listen to this and really not like the home-brew production, there is much here to like and I’d much rather listen to a here a whole collection of EPs put together like this than half of the crap that’s playing on the radio right now, but it also depends on whether you take this as a bunch of demos or a fully formed EP. There is bucket loads of personality here, with many ideas and a DIY ethic that serves its songwriters purpose well. I think the EP would have flowed a lot better without the track featuring Louise Distras, but that is no fault of the track itself, I’m a big fan of both it and Louise too. It’s great to see well written songs, which even though they show insecurities and flaws, are bright, experimental and unexpectedly uplifting. Top marks.

Keep up to date with Ame Bleu by visiting her facebook page > www.facebook.com/amebleuofficial

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