Turn Up The Funk – Warm Digits: Flight Of Ideas – Album Review

The follow up to 2017’s Wireless World sees the Newcastle duo expand on the lyrics and guest vocalists and they take the funk up a notch too! A fantastic trip into the topical point of how not every idea we have is the right idea and should be executed blindingly.

Following is my track-by-track thoughts on the new album.

Track one – Frames And Cages: Bang up-to-date but with undertones of Eastern mysticism and the soft wave of the signature Warm Digits sound. Pulsing rhythms through it. Love the ending. A strong album opener.

Track two – Feel The Panic (feat. The Lovely Eggs): First time I listened to it I felt it should have been the lead single, just my opinion. Great catchy lyrics. “Are you infallible? Or just gullible?” Andy’s drumming is a highlight on this. Great guitar licks from Steve as well. They bring out such a big sound for a duo. This track could currently not be any more topical!

Track three – The View From Nowhere (feat. Emma Pollock): A bit more of a laidback groove from the guys this track. Again, great lyrics. Great guitar licks from Steve.

Track four – I’m Okay, You’re Okay: The melody! I love this track. I actually find it very emotional. It’s reminiscent of something off Autobahn for me – just….the emotional impact of it. Gorgeous electronica. But also very organic. A very signature Warm Digits track for me.

Track five – Fools Tomorrow (feat. Paul Smith): Wow! What a track! The funk weaving through and Paul Smith’s voice works ssooo well with the sound. And the beat break around the three minute mark in the song? Divine! Again, tracks on this album are becoming incredibly topical.

Track six – Replication: Again, the melody that starts the track just pulls you in and then Andy drums like an animal. Great bass work and then manic but gorgeous waves of melody and riffs. Something pentatonic with the beat at times. Then another gorgeous beat break around the three minute mark. The bass on this is sublime!

Track seven – Shake The Wheels Off (feat. The Orielles): More funk coming along, but perhaps toned down a little compared to others. Great electronics on it and fab hooks and riffs going on in it. Again very catchy. “A real bone-shaker”, as the song says.

Track eight – Everyone Nervous (feat. Rozi Plain): Beautiful electronics and Andy’s drumming on it is fab. Great guitar reverbs towards the end of the track as well. Rozi Plain’s voice is so wonderful emotive. I find this a wonderfully soft and emotional piece. It actually gives me those goosebump chills of electricity when I play it.

Track nine – False Positive: TURN UP THE FUNK! Wow! Was blown away by this when they performed it at St Luke’s in Glasgow back in February. Great synth melody over the top too. Something you can really just funk out to. Might actually be my fave track on the whole album. If not then…it’s really up there!

Track ten – Flight Of Ideas: These guys really are the modern masters of the looped groove for me. I just love absolutely everything they produce. And – hidden singing sensation on the track – the one and only Steve Jefferis!

A cohesive collection of songs. A maturing of sound, I feel. A little less emphasis on the more motorik sound they had. They have certainly increased the funk ratio and the influences of the electronica that the band originally sprouted from has returned somewhat, but also matured.

Standout tracks for me are: Fools Tomorrow, Replication, Everyone Nervous and False Positive.

A very solid 4.5 stars out of five.

Flight Of Ideas is released on April 3rd, 2020, on the Memphis Industries label and can be pre-ordered online at the Warm Digits store. Click the LINK HERE for details.

Record Store Day 2020

This year’s RSD takes place on Saturday April 18th. There are some things that have piqued my interest, pictured below.

There is also a Steven Wilson mixes edition of Roxy Music’s eponymous debut album. For me, Field Music and kd Lang’s All You Can Eat and Drag would be lovely on vinyl. I used to play those and the Ingenue album SSSOO much. I absolutely ADORE her voice.

There is also the tenuous Simple Minds connected offering of Corporation Of One’s The Real Life – which as I understand it, oddly enough samples the title track from SM’s 1991 album.

Something for the purist, I guess. I can’t say I am that enthusiastic about it, but now I’ve said that, I’ll probably by it. Lol

Street Fighting Years – Reissues/Box Set – Released 06/03/2020

It’s the one a lot of fans have been waiting for and well…it’s fairly disappointing, insomuch as there’s nothing to surprise. No previously unreleased material. Well the Verona audio is deemed “previously unissued” – whatever the fuck THAT’S meant to mean. Not previously in audio only format, I’m assuming?

This new push for “edits” continues with a disc that contains both edits and full versions of songs and some remixes. Why edits? Especially within a product that appeals most to the ardent fan rather than the casual fair weather fan? I just about understood it with “40: The Best of 1979-2019”. It was to appeal to the casual fan, not the ardent one.

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If you want true fans … “real” fans to continue to invest in this output, you’re going to have to up your game. Sorry, but it’s the truth. You can’t just keep on relying on us being pulled in by the aesthetics of the packaging. It’ll start to have a tone of “nice legs, shame about the face” with it. “Nice packaging, shame about the content.”

It’s a big investment for some pretty imagery.

The only thing that genuinely appeals about it now is the booklet and Trevor Horn interview.

But don’t let me put you off! Available to pre-order – the best price I’ve seen for it is via the Townsend Music store, currently listed as £43 for the 4CD Boxset. You can view more details on the contents of the boxset HERE (which also contains info on the 2CD and 2LP versions of the album).

I’ll wait to invest. I’m guessing that by the time this year’s Verona gig swings by, the price will have dropped and I’ll grab a copy then. I did similar with Sparkle In The Rain and Once Upon A Time. I bought them both several months down the line at discounted cost.

Now…had this been a Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call boxset….

Glasgow – Music Scene Central!

I read a piece from The Guardian yesterday as to why author Karl Whitney believed that Glasgow is the best city in Britain for the popular music-lover. He talked about the vibrancy of the scene, the number of venues the city has, a number of them more intimate music/pubs, some offering a fully vegan menu. I had been in two of them mentioned, The Flying Duck (making my mind up about Walnut Road and hearing Cities being played as some kind of omen) and Mono, in which I had that delicious kumquat margarita – and also checked out adjoining Monorail record bar.

I’ve walked past Nice N’ Sleazy’s numerous times but have never ventured in. And also for me personally, the notion that I am going to be living just 15 minutes away from the Royal Concert Hall fills me with SO MUCH EXCITEMENT…I can’t even!

And he also talked about the shops too, mostly around the West End on the Byers Road. In all my visits to Glasgow so far, one of the things that has eluded a visit is Byers Road. And only this last time did I get a sweeping glance of it as we passed by on the sightseeing tour bus (highly recommended, I must say – and if you love a bit of history and Neil Oliver’s dulcet tones float your boat, you’re in luck! He provides the audio commentary on the bus). But when the move happens…well, I’ll be on the lookout for bargains and by all accounts the Sally Army store up near Partick is the place to go – two birds, one stone!

Anyway, Karl extolls the virtues of my very, VERY soon adopted city much more than I can. Click the image of Barras to read the article.

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Mecca

The Lowe Benchmark

The latest Record Collector looking into the best of Nick Lowe.

The bit about The Pretenders’ Stop Your Sobbing. I had NO IDEA that Nick and Chrissie had been an item! You learn something new every day, peeps!

Slow News Sunday Summary – April 28th

Well, seeing as most days there is not much to report, I have decided to coin the SM “Slow News Sunday Summary”. A look at what morsels have been reported via SMO or other related avenues during the past seven days.

  • Cherisse on tour with Kelly Jones in June/July
  • Sir’s been to Sicily
  • Sarah’s Saturday night gig
  • Rejuvenation albums now available individually as singles

On Wednesday it was officially revealed by Cherisse on her social media that she will be playing with Kelly Jones (Stereophonics’ frontman) during his solo tour of the UK in June and July. A fan had heard an interview with Jones on radio saying that he was “interviewing” a drummer to tour with him and that SHE currently plays for Simple Minds. A rather large giveaway, but I was remaining nonplussed about it until word came from Cherisse herself.

I had a drumming lesson with her on Thursday and we talked about the news. She said some fans got into a panic, asking her whether it meant the end of her time with SM.

Have no fear, peeps! She’s just grabbing the opportunity for some gigging while there is SM downtime.

Also taking the opportunity to explore other musical avenues during the SM downtime is Sarah Brown, who was a guest of a group called Casca, playing a gig last night in Camden. I would have loved to have gone, but honestly, I cannot reiterate how skint I am right now. But I would have loved to have gone and shown some support.

Jim had a few days in Sicily earlier in the week. Some downtime for him from a busy schedule of writing, etc… all actually very elusive as to what else he’s doing other than him saying he’s “writing”.

Anyway…mustn’t dwell on how quiet it is, eh? And actually, I SHOULD be thankful because I have sod all money to do anything with … and that would be FAR worse! If they were touring around and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Speaking of things that cost money that I can’t really do anything about…
After now having released the Rejuvenation box sets and having had us all invest in those (well, those of us who could…), the albums and CDs are now available to purchase individually.

I am now in absolute dilemma mode. A huge part of me wants the box sets because of the packaging. Another part of me says it means I can invest in the vinyl that I was most interested in getting from the box set with a smaller outlay spread over time. The CD/DVD box set I definitely DO want to invest in. But it is going to have to wait.

Until next week, folks…keep it Simple x

Someone Somewhere In Summertime With LDF

Had a go at tidying up the image of Jim in the SSIS fold-out poster with the 7” vinyl. Don’t know if any of you guys have a crease proof copy, but I don’t…and I have three of them! Lol.
30+ years of being folded up will do that.

The crease stubbornly would fall all down the left side of his face across his eye (and when I say the left side…I mean from his perspective). I tried tidying it up years ago, but thought I’d have a fresh go…and just added a few other “improvements”. (Not so much with him…it’s impossible to improve upon perfection…)

The fresh attempt was spurred on by someone viewing my original attempt of “improvement” a couple of days ago.