By: Bruce Cowie
Cody Noon | facebook | bandcamp |
The first couple of listens to this, the follow-up to the Reading duo’s Tiny Manticore, and I realise I’m doing it all wrong.
It’s too noisy here.
There are too many distractions.
The music just vanishes like summer morning mist. I can’t keep hold of it.
I need to change my plan.
I take myself to a quiet place and try again.
That’s better. It’s working now. Oh yes.
Bobowler, however you might choose to pronounce it, is just a little thing. Four songs. Barely twenty minutes long. But it’s a lovely little thing, if you can find the time and space to listen to it properly.
It’s tricky, trying to assign a nice clear-cut genre to Cody Noon. They’re something like minimalist post-rock, with slo-core leanings, and maybe a hint of a slacker vibe (Am I allowed to say ‘vibe’ these days? Or is that too last-century?). They say they want to sound like Mogwai and Low, amongst others, and to be honest, they really don’t, much. The music is sparse and dreamy, nothing more than simply strummed guitar, ultra-economical bass and the merest bump-bump-snap of programmed drums. But if you allow it into your head it’s marvellously hypnotic. Even when they kick off a bit, as they do in the second half of opener ‘Space Alert’, they manage it without, as it were, lifting their arse off the couch.
Sometimes ever so slightly discordant, they can be deliciously eerie, as they are in ‘Mob Wives Fear Satan’ (Hah! See what you did there! Cheeky wee Mogwai reference!), raising the hairs on the back of your neck with its spidery creepiness. In the blurb on their Bandcamp page, they describe what they do as ‘crafting quiet menace’, and I can’t argue with that.
‘Burnside Basement’ (Another nod towards Mogwai?) takes the minimalism a step further, abandoning the drums altogether and most of the aforementioned menace, leaving a pretty little melody and a bass-line which very nearly achieves a measure of jauntiness. Occasionally.
As I write, something called Pokemon Go is sweeping the world. As a phenomenon, this, and all of the other games in the series, has passed me by entirely and I was thus mightily surprised to discover that the last song on this record, ‘Lavender Town’ is an adaption of the music from Pokemon Green/Red. Surprised, I say, because it fits so seamlessly with the sound and feel of everything else they’ve ever done that it’s hard to accept that it was written by somebody else. With that in mind, maybe they should abandon any thoughts of sounding like those other bands, and just concentrate on what they’re already doing supremely well and just sound like themselves.
To close a brief review of a brief record, it occurs to me that Bobowler is a bit like a cat. Languid, almost lazy. A bit creepy, sometimes. Slinky and elegant with minimum effort. Invite it in, give it the time and space it deserves, let it poke about in the corners and sit on your second favourite chair. Cherish it, and it will reward you. And it won’t shit in your slippers.