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The Rocking Horse Winner | State of Feeling Concentration (Ohev)
I really shouldn't like this. From it's technically accomplished Photoshop cover wizardry to its equally slick production (surely it didn't require three drum engineers to create that boomy Albert Hall 'ambience'), SoFC is so glossy, so...manufactured, that it has no right infiltrating the lo-fi-friendly pages of CwaS. Why then does this combination of treated guitars and insistent percussion not inspire the customary marriage of right index finger and eject button? The reasons number just two, but they're important. Firstly - Jolie Lindholm possesses a voice that combines the seductive allure of a young Juliana Hatfield (an immeasurable worth to these ears) with the pure pop sparkle of Velocity Girl (the tone of the album is very much like that of VG's Gilded Stars) and, secondly, the band have retained an infectious enthusiasm and knack for a memorable hook that outplays James Wisner's production sheen. Tellingly the record was recorded over two summers and, for the most part, the 2000 session produced the stronger material, slow-building opener From Miles Away, the sweeping Tomorrow and the indie-pop confection of Sweet Smell Before The Rain all instantly engaging. Of the 99-sourced tracks Atmosphere boasts the album's most driving chorus, saving an otherwise standard eighties college-rock dirge from obscurity. The most recent edition of Jack Rabid's indispensible Big Takeover magazine gave review space to a self-released EP of demos that introduces Oliver Chapoy to the line-up of RHW. I have it on good authority that our Oliver will add a new dimension to the band, hopefully curtailing the well-intentioned go-for-broke excesses of State of Feeling Concentration and nurturing the rare/raw talents so nearly lost in the mix. The guiltiest of pleasures then.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #7 - Spring 2001