After 1984’s gargantuan greatness with the dominance of Frankie and meteoric rise of Madonna and Prince, 1985 had a lot to measure up to. …And indeed, some have said it’s a rather more forgettable year for pop.
In terms of pop, 1982 was a strong year: Madness took a further step towards songwriting sophistication with their album ‘The Rise & Fall’, Prince made a huge breakthrough with his ‘1999’ double platter of much filthiness and Phil Collins showed us that the previous year’s ‘Face Value’ wasn’t just a one-off solo success when his “tricky second album” spawned a #1 hit single and a few of his best solo tunes.
Jennie Vee’s second solo EP ‘Die Alone’ was a masterpiece of retro cool. Taking elements from The Cranes, The Cure, Lush and early Echo & The Bunnymen, the release was a superb homage to everything that was brilliant about 4AD and electro-goth from the early 90s. [Read a review of the EP here.]
In the three years since that release, the one-time Tuuli frontwoman has been incredibly busy. She’s recorded a full length album, played with Courtney Love and supported Echo & The Bunnymen and Manic Street Preachers. Earlier in 2007, she also landed the job as bassist with Josh Homme’s Eagles of Death Metal.
For their fourth EP, US lo-fi/anti-folk duo Vacation take on some familiar – and not-so-familiar – tunes by other artists. As Tori Amos proved time and again, you can take the most rocking numbers and reduce them to a minimalist piano ballad with reasonable ease, almost to the point where the once unimaginable becomes predictable. In some ways, Vacation play by a similar rule in that their chosen material gets stripped down and re-imagined in an echoing lo-fi acoustic fashion, but whereas Ms. Amos, Emm Gryner and countless other artists always ensure there was accessibility even within their most bizarre reimaginings, these guys just want to strip things back to their most stark. This results in at least one tune that’s anything but predictable.