Monday, 26 December 2011

Track of the Week: Unextraordinary Gentlemen - Open Arms, Empty Air (2011 Version)

Los Angeles based Unextraordinary Gentlemen are a band that I've intended to feature much more prominently on Keep Pop Loud this year, but have sadly fallen through the net. With this being the last Track of the Week of 2011 now is the time to remedy this and introduce yourself to a really unique act in time for their debut album which I'm hopeful should land in 2012.

Although a post-punk and steampunk tagged act, the UXGs warrant comparison to the violin and electronica textured elements of Pulp's '90s output and the warped storytelling of Nick Cave. There's gothic elements as well as examples of proper pop genius. In short they could be the best band that you've yet to hear.

Originally released on 5 Tales From God Only Knows 'Open Arms, Empty Air' has long been the highlight from their repertoire and this year has seen new life with a fuller sounding re-recording that you can hear above. The steady drum machine is swiped straight from alternative 80s pop music whilst the tension in the narrative echoes that from Pulp numbers such as 'Space' and 'Sheffield: Sex City'.

Where often such high-concept music can seem po-faced the Unextraordinay Gentlemen have a capacity for humour that's witnessed on the b-side to this digital single. 'Goodbye 1870s' reworks the Yazoo song 'Goodbye Seventies' to brilliant effect that contrasts nicely with the more imposing A-side. It retains the sense of fun that you might expect whilst referencing elements from the Gentlemen lore.

A great pair of tracks to end the year with, whether you're doing so hiding from the cold and feeling fragile or celebrating what's passed you can't go wrong here.

(Unfortunately the Unextraordinay Gentlemen are only available in the UK digitally right now, but if you head to Amazon there is some copies of their CDs available on import. Otherwise head to CD Baby to import it yourself.)

See you in 2012

Keep Pop Loud

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