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January | I Heard Myself In You (Poptones)
Somewhere between the grandeur of Buffalo Tom's Taillights Fade and the ebb and flow of Red House Painters' Katy's Song lies All Time, the track January have chosen to open their debut album. It's actually a surprise that the offices that house Beggars Banquet and 4AD (once UK home to both those celebrated US bands) haven't opened their doors to January. The cynics among you may surmise that one Nick Drake-meets-Country Rock ensemble is enough for one label but, like Mojave 3, January do have the credentials (or at least a pedal-steel guitar and a reverb unit) to appeal to both the Uncut readership and the bedsit bound mopers awaiting a shoegazing revival. Simon McLean's songs are delivered in a breathy, indistinct style that clouds any lyrical shortcomings, relying on his forte for a chiming chord change and sweeping arrangement to see them through. Live the band are prone to extended, backs to the audience, heads down feedback attacks though such tactics are absent from I Heard Myself In You. In their place, a lilting brand of resonant country-lite alternates with epic sojourns into space like All Time or successfully marries the two as on Sequence Start, the title track, or recent single Falling In. Other tracks simply meander harmlessly (Contact Light, Projections, Eyes All Mine), unable to find a spark to lift them. Quite likely one of the more recently penned tracks, Through Your Skies is probably the most realised track here. Melodic and confident with the band at their most sonorous, it could be a precursor to January's future. Might want to speed up the songwriting process, mind.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #8 - Summer 2001

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