THE PICCADILLY RECORDS ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2016.
What happens when you put an obscure Mancunian music chronologist on a three month sojourn in the heart of the Italian countryside with some battered analogue recording gear, some cheap guitars and a female vocalist and friend to explore themes of the human condition and daydreams of fantasy with one piece of decoration: a poster of their favourite band Os Mutantes looming large on the wall, offering some company and direction during this time of solitude? The answer is a new group of seismic psychedelic proportions. May we present Whyte Horses.
Inspired by the nomadic travels of cult folk artist Mark Fry and outsider Krautrock groups, strange sounds began to emanate from deep within a dilapidated cottage, deep in the Frosinone mountains range with no access to the outside world. Panoramic views baring an uncanny resemblance to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s epic pseudo-western ‘El Topo’ began to filter the songwriting, as hazy instrumentals evolved into mutant pop sketches, blurring seventies MOR sensibilities, obscure imagery and everyday thoughts. At various stages of recording friends would come and visit to jam out songs and record through the night. ‘Pop or Not’ features some wanton contributions from Jez Williams (Doves / Black Rivers, Chris Geddes (Belle & Sebastian), Ian Parton (The Go! Team) and the enigma that is Jim Noir.
The result is other-worldly, classically of another time and space. Triumphant yet melancholy, a colour-sound of psychedelic dream pop, fearless and tender in equal measure. A modern day cosmic-cowboy concept album tackling the story of a fugitive character fighting a personal battle of rehabilitation.
STAFF COMMENTSAndy says: We’ve all known Manchester music luminary Dom Thomas for his work with Andy Votel at Twisted Nerve and also his extraordinary home-made psychedelic compilations he‘d bring into the store. In both guises he excelled in the mysterious, exotic, and occasionally impenetrable. This was far-out stuff. Until now! Suddenly there is a pop group and they’re called Whyte Horses. Reconvening to a dilapidated cottage in rural Italy, with only an acoustic guitar, female buddy and some battered analogue recording gear, Dom set about creating what would become the psychedelic dream pop diamond we’re celebrating today. Friends came to visit: Manchester stalwarts Jez from Doves and the exceptional Jim Noir, but it was Belle And Sebastian’s Chris Geddes and The Go!Team’s Ian Parton who left the deepest impression. The former brought an impeccable indie-pop aesthetic (tasty flavours, occasional tweeness!) but this was propelled by the insatiable, cacophonous melodic joi de vivre which defined and lit up the early Go! Team sound. All this magic was totally below the radar until the arrival of “Snowfalls” last year. A 7” smash, seemingly from nowhere; timeless and beautiful. Something was happening, but a year went by, until, mystery perfectly intact, here comes ‘Pop Or Not’, perfectly formed, in May 2016. It sounds as if all of Dom’s far-flung excursions and excavations have been corralled and distilled into simple, yearning, beautifully crafted pop songs. It combines everything we love in music: massive Mary Chain chord changes, prime-time Roses melodies, ebullient drumming and a 60s sense of love and possibility. When mixed with girl-group, easy-pop, library stylings and more than a sprinkling of enchanting psych fairy dust, you have a classic record which bounces from one really catchy song to another, all the way through. Perfect.