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The Afternoons | My Lost City (Dockrad)
There's a definite West Coast feel about this Welsh quintet, who produce a sound that takes you back to those hippy drippy days of Flowers In Your Hair and Burt Bacharach and suchlike - it's all about Richard Griffiths' earnest vocals and the at-times frenetic backing that reprises the kind of Mojo dancing hedonism of a vanished era, filtered through - naturally enough - modern technology and 21st century pop sensibilities. By that I mean they take the best bits from the past, scuzz them up a bit and give birth to a slightly skewed 'perfect world' pop music, all plangent chord sequences, traces of French horn for that heartstrings tugging moment, ladled with more than a decent helping of Prefab Sprout, whether they realise that or not. When it works, it's sublime - Rollerskates In The Park is lovely; when it doesn't - the faux country ballad Bee-stung sounds like a parody (perhaps it is, who knows?) - it's time to hit the skip button. But, on repeated listening, 'My Lost City' becomes quite an enchanting little album. Almost gossamer-like in places; in others it has a nursery-rhyme like innocence, like in Gonna Stay Together. If you manage to find a copy going cheap in a second hand record store, dig deep. It's worth a fiver of anyone's money. And I'm sure Dockrad Records, created by two Bank of Wales clerks David Lloyd and Phil Mytton who wanted to do more with their lives and established Dockrad as a means of giving unsigned/unknown Welsh aritsts a platform, will be very happy.
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003