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THE PROPER ORNAMENTS

‘Six Lenins’, the third album release from The Proper Ornaments, sees the band master their seemingly effortless but finely-wrought sound as their songwriting prowess refuses to plateau. Fresh from an US tour in Autumn last year, the London jangle pop group led by James Hoare (also of Ultimate Painting/Veronica Falls) and Max Claps (Toy) went into James' home studio in Finsbury Park, London and made their finest recordings to date on a newly-installed 16 track Studer machine - joined by Danny Nellis (Charles Howl) on bass and Bobby Syme (Wesley Gonzalez) on drums. Having escaped deep, twisting tunnels of illness, divorce and drug abuse to release their second record in January 2017, it's unsurprising they sound sunnier this time around. What their supremely melodic work suggests is a nonchalance or naivety but is in fact an expensively bought slice of coherence and clarity within a constantly shifting backdrop to their lives and landscapes. The band exists as an unassuming and resilient organism in a fiercely competitive, trashed environmental niche. Throughout their years of hard-edged music industry Darwinism, they've shown longevity and growth scuttling from the wreckage of their previous guitar bands to become one united organism. "We started writing new songs in the Summer. I was in bed recovering from hepatitis and very broken and tired so couldn't do anything else apart from playing guitar," says Max, "and the songs slowly started to appear. In August we realised we had five new songs each and free time, so we decided to record them. The actual recording only took two weeks and it was considerably easier than our previous recordings.” The speed with which “Six Lenins” was made suggests the two songwriters managed to keep a keen focus on what they wanted to achive, further finessing the balance of conflict and collaboration that lends their sweet, succinct tunes their nervous energy. Well-crafted songwriting and a controlled sonic despite a zealous analogue sensibility. The opener 'Apologies', sets out stridently and the mood and momentum, even as we weave through some more sombre moments, never dips before soaring with the Velvets-y propeller riff of live favourite 'In the Garden' to end the record.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: The Proper ornaments superbly tread the ground laid by hazy psych-rock aficionados BJM, mixing airy simmering guitars and long reverbs with multi-layered vox, swooning synths and almost-horizontal harmonies. Beautifully warm and brilliantly written summer serenades.

The Proper Ornaments

Waiting For The Summer

    THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2017 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

    Following the release of Foxhole in January of this year, Tough Love will issue on vinyl for the first time The Proper Ornaments debut long-player, Waiting for the Summer: a compilation of their first 10 songs, originally released on CD in 2013. What they said in 2013… Is perfect pop still possible? It’s hard to imagine, but the answer is Yes, and The Proper Ornaments are here to prove it. A timeless beauty that reminds us of The Velvet Underground and The Jesus & Mary Chain and yet sounds classic and effortlessly original. Produced by Charlie March of NZCA Lines and featuring ten golden nuggets of pure pleasure. James Hoare and Max Claps formed The Proper Ornaments in 2010. The first line up included bassist Michael Lovett and Lets Wrestle front man Wesley Patrick Gonzalez. Micheal went on to form NZCA LINES, but Wes remained part of the tag team thanks to a nifty half nelson and the offer of a night in the corner of London's darkest stages and the theft of his organ…. 

    The Proper Ornaments

    Wooden Head

      THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2017 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

      Repress of the second album which has been out of print for a long time. 500 copies only. Mining the rich territories of The Velvet Underground and The Beach Boys, their debut album proper "Wooden Head" features fourteen thrillingly taut and melodic pop songs with a deep, dark undercurrent. Comprised of Argentinian Max Claps and James Hoare (also of Veronica Falls) – who both sing and write the songs – and joined by Daniel Nellis (bass) and Robert Syme (drums), the band have already shared stages with the likes of Real Estate, Woods, Crystal Stilts, Toy and Metronomy. Maximo Claps arrived in London in 2008 on a one-way ticket from Buenos Aires, aided by former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Oldham had produced a record by Claps' Argentinian band of the time but the group had fallen apart in a mess of drugs and acrimony and Claps' family were attempting to intervene by sending him to a mental hospital. The only option seemed to be to flee the country. As Claps recalls, "The day before flying to the UK I got run over by a car and had to escape hospital in order to make it so I arrived with bandages and my head all stitched up." A few weeks later Max walked into the vintage clothes shop where James Hoare sat behind the counter reading a book on The Velvet Underground, and attempted to cause a diversion while his kleptomaniac girlfriend stole a pair of boots. “She didn't steal them in the end,” says Max. “They weren't her size”. However, the shop assistant and the would-be accomplice bonded over a mutual love of the Velvets, Love, Felt and West Coast pop and began writing together, taking their name from a song by the pioneering soft psych band The Free Design. In 2010 they released their first single, "Recalling", following it up with a five-song EP for London label No Pain in Pop. In 2013 Lo Recordings released all their output to date on a collection titled "Waiting for the Summer", followed by the single “First Step Out” in February 2014. Their new album was recorded at a studio in Hackney, as well as at home in their old flat in Whitechapel on a broken 8-track reel-to-reel bought off eBay from an angry guy who threatened to shoot them and chop off their balls when they attempted to return it - a terrifying experience for a pair of skinny indie boys. Taking inspiration from Berlin-era Lou Reed, Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Darklands”, The Television Personalities and West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, the songs are breezy and easy on the ear, with sublime harmonies and chiming Byrdsian guitar, but with a darker twist and a pervasive air of melancholy. Stand-out tracks include the beautiful but sad “Summer’s Gone” (about mental illness), “Magazine” (an upbeat number written from the perspective of a bullet in the barrel of a gun) and “You’ll See” (about how when you die you’ll see everyone you know, all there lined up in a row). With "Wooden Head", The Proper Ornaments prove that it is still possible to create an album of pure pop perfection. Max's girlfriend may not have stolen the boots, but The Proper Ornaments are about to steal your heart.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Mean mr mustard coloured vinyl.


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