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Optimistic recluse Mike Gale and his Winchester/Oxford collective return with eclectic indie-alt-prog opus "Moon Lagoon", their 4th album in 4 years. Farm Music is a new label run from Farm Music studio in Oxfordshire, known for recording many acclaimed alternative albums (Black Nielson, Goldrush, Danny & the Champions of the World, Electric Soft Parade, The Dreaming Spires, Ralfe Band & Co-pilgrim). ‘Still Life Hear Me’ by Black Nielson was the first of these back in 2000, so it seems fitting that the label's first release should be from ex-Black Nielson frontman Mike Gale's present combo, Co-pilgrim. Opening track ‘Turn It Around’ is a clear statement of intent. Gentle acoustic strums swept along by synth and then blown away by power-fuzz guitar; a different Co-pilgrim to the harmony-pop exponents of yore, grittier and more robust, informed by past travails (Gale's recent loss of a parent and an often debilitating agoraphobia) yet resolute and optimistic in pursuit of the yearned-for mythical utopia of the 'moon lagoon'.
Both the second song, ‘You'll Look Pretty As a Picture When The Acid Rain Hits Ya’ and title track, ‘Moon Lagoon’ feed 90s American alt-rock through Copilgrim's pop filter (check the almost Kim Deal-esque BVs). However, it is first single and album centre-piece ‘Cylindrical Fire Escapes’ which really showcases the ambition of the record; producer & multi-instrumentalist Joe Bennett (Dreaming Spires, Goldrush, Saint Etienne, Danny & the Champs) paints an ethereal soundscape of swirling synths and chiming guitars, driven by Andy Reaney's rolling bass and bursts of pulsating rhythm from drummer/percussionist Mike Monaghan (Willie J Healey, Gaz Coombes, Man Without Country, Ralfe Band), and beautifully transcended at the finale by Claire Bennett's soaring vocals.
Turn It Around,
You'll Look Pretty As A Picture When The Acid Rain Hits Ya,
Cylindrical Fire Escapes,
Thank My Stars,
I'm Not A Wallflower,
I'm The Wall,
Digging Holes In The Whites Of Your Eyes,
Wouldn't You Like To Dance?