20 March 2013

20th March - Kirsty MacColl's Tropical Brainstorm

Artist – Album: Kirsty MacColl – Tropical Brainstorm
Released:  20th March 2000
Sounds Like: A Fiesta!

I grew up listening to the wonderful Kirsty MacColl. When I was seven, MacColl released a best of named Galore, which was promptly snapped up by my mom. She adored her excellent alternative pop/rock tunes, her pristine voice, which could flit between angelic and earthy at the drop of a hat, and the fact that she just looked like a lovely lady. MacColl’s songs had a brilliant sense of humour to them – they were often about failed romantic encounters, but there was a lack of bitterness and more of a tongue in cheek, your loss attitude. Next to the Lightning Seeds’ Jollyfication and Crowded Houses’ Woodface, Galore must have been the most played album in our house during my formative years.

And then, in 2000 she died. She was killed in a speedboating accident in Mexico, heroically sacrificing her own life to save that of her partner. And I didn’t hear the album as much anymore.

A decade later I visited a friend I’d met at university in her plush new flat in Zurich. She was showing off her favourite songs on Youtube when she put ‘In These Shoes?’ on. I was taken aback. This was MacColl again! I recognised her stunning vocals, her jokey lyrics, the uptempo music. But I didn’t know the song. I didn’t know that she had released this great album just months before she died, and it made me happy to have rediscovered her.

There are plenty of high points here, including the aforementioned ‘In These Shoes?’. ‘England 2 Columbia 0’ culminates with the immortal rhyming couplet “Now it's England 2 Colombia 0, And I know just how those Colombians feel”, and ‘Us Amazonians’ has the Vampire Weekend sound years before they were on the scene. ‘Autumngirlsoup’ is a lovely showcase for her voice, although not really representative of the album’s South American influenced mambo style.

This is an ecstatic party album for you; a blessing for me.

Albumaday... rating: 7/10

1.       Mambo De La Luna – 4:38
2.       In These Shoes? – 3:39
3.       Treachery – 3:51
4.       Here Comes That Man Again – 4:49
5.       Autumngirlsoup – 3:54
6.       Celestine – 3:35
7.       England 2 Columbia 0 – 3:45
8.       Não Esperando – 4:04
9.       Alegria – 2:01
10.   Us Amazonians – 4:09
11.   Wrong Again – 4:16
12.   Designer Life – 2:35
13.   Head – 3:56
14.   Golden Heart – 3:24
15.   Things Happen – 2:58
16.   Good For Me – 4:10

Listen to ‘Us Amazonians’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZh9ayEmKHY

Also released on the 20th March:
2007: Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

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