The Ark that Jonny Sock built

(with apologies to Asleep at the Wheel – Q)

The Unfortunate Incident – Build your own ark

There are some bands that really make me cry out loud: “why am I not in the UK!?” Thanks to the magic of this blog and to the band’s official site, there’s access to their songs for someone living on the other side of the world and while listening, I really feel a good mood arriving to my head.

Fun, eclectic style, folk, and 50’s rock and roll (milkshakes, ice cream, the prom’s queen and her beau: the end of a prom to be exact, when everybody’s dancing so close and there are drunk people on the floor already). This band really knows how to have a great time making music.

What I found in The Unfortunate Incident? A rather interesting and very kind voice (Russ Palmer) and second voices just following as unconsciousness dictating the words we will say or, phrases and single words echoing like memories that won’t fade away (Daniel Palmer, Tom Wilks), a supporting bass line (Daniel Palmer), rock-styled drum riffs (Tom Wilks), being such the building blocks of an eclectic style describing the feelings and thoughts by someone who’s just going through one of those phases we all hate,  facing the storm with a sweet and sour smile, full of sarcasm and guided (or misguided) by a realistic approach, just waiting for the worst.

Don’t get me wrong, just because I say realistic it doesn’t mean it’s bad or sad, it’s just what it is. And, coming back to the “building blocks” topic, even though rock drum riffs are a common factor through their 13 tracks (oh, lucky number!), guitars seem to define the way to go in every song, e.g.: ‘The Unfortunate Incident’ (Track 13), electric guitar solos, and sharp sound; ‘Cause and Effect’ (Track 11, my favorite), featuring an electro acoustic guitar, a folk based song with a chorus saying “oh, no there he goes again, drinking whiskey and gin / why don’t we just pack our things and leave him?” (ok, you’re the boss!); and The Ballad of Jonny Sock (look for Track No. 6 of your CD, get your beau and dance!), a so clean 60’s ballad, no pretensions and a pinch of nostalgia, courtesy of the background voice, a mix of high pitched voices  singing the words “sing to me”, if you don’t close your eyes at this part of the song, then there’s something wrong.

Another song that definitely can’t be ignored is ‘Every breath you take’, I dare to say you will think of a quite famous song, add then “is killing me”. Ha! No infringement intended, blame it on your collective unconsciousness. Sarcasm sounds as the ultimate aim in this part of the CD (Track 5) conveyed with the sound of a trumpet (sometimes a little out of tune à l’exprès), deep voice, guitars (having the same out-of-tune feature with the same purpose, more sarcasm!).

So, as I see it and feel it, the above songs seem a representative sample on how the band’s mixed styles build its unique presence and the reasons for such mix seem to be: just because.

I keep on listening to Build your own Ark, and every note describes bitter fun and how the band gives its heart out while they’re singing. These random thoughts make me think of another philosopher (a musician too) talking against famous musicians, and musicians’ intention as the art of expressing themselves: one of the greatest miracles in life is being on your own, or in front of a small audience and transforming words into sounds, ideas into beats, that’s what we miss and need in our lives. This genius text is evoked into my mind whenever I listen to honest bands like this, when it is so evident they’re having a great time on stage or while recording an album, and making it so unique and impossible to classify their music proposal when it comes to music genre (I’ll just leave it as Indie).

One of the little details I really love from this band is that it seems as if everyone in the group has a voice of its own and speak out through its instrument of choice, so ordered and neat; I would think of that detail as part of a cultural feature I dare to call so English (discussion is more than welcomed).

It is a pleasure listening to bands like The Unfortunate Incident, whose Jonny Sock is just lovely (thumbs up) by the way, and a big thank you: it seems Sheffield is showing off its great upbringing of musicians with souls of their own.

Words : Tonan.

About the author : She thinks she’s missed the train to Mars, she’s out back counting stars…


The Unfortunate Incident

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