There has been a long traceable tradition of musicians with a grounding in visual art, in fact some are happy for both genres to blur into each other, take for instance Jarvis Cocker, David Byrne or Bjork at ease working in both genres with overlapping ideas converging to present a more curious whole.
What links all creative activity, music, or painting is the endless hours spent in rooms honing skills to create artistic output.
Love Scenes, and the music of Video Blue recorded and produced by Jim O’Donoghue Martin stems from this tradition of crafting and manipulating his tools, in this case guitar, voice and laptop to create original songs/sounds.
What makes this “bedroom-borne” first full-length album so interesting and compelling is that it navigates a wide span of territory from atmospheric electronic moods to infectious uplifting indie tracks with a guitar twang of alt country thrown in for good measure.
The album opens up with ‘Dogged Animals’, introducing the sentiment and feel of the album; jagged shimmering guitars, hushed punchy vocals all woven up with built up splinterings of electronic hum and click. ‘Dusk Moves’ carries us along with its electro catchy dance moves, then the mood takes us down a cinematic widescreen road movie, with ‘Pillow Drift’ and its muffled underwater melodic flowing ending.
‘September and October’ signals the onset of a change in tone of the conversation, I am reminded of the early Pavement with its catchy vocals and lazy driving guitar riffs and great backing vocals by Muireann O’Keef.
‘Bombshell’, the highlight of the album, is brimful of infectious guitar hooks and choruses, it’s an uplifting sun bleached sunny morning song and at just under three minutes provides you with a twang of happiness and jumpy giddiness.
The remaining songs delve in and out of the plotted territory from the atmospheric electronic meanderings and field recordings of ‘Times End/Dream’ to the built up invigorating motorik beats of Hold Muzik with its great radio smudge smear opening sample.
The album ends with the evocative ‘Magpies at Dawn’ a slow drift movement of lazy elegant singing overlaid on Video Blue’s characteristic fluid guitar playing and patterned drumming, giving a sense of a whispering end to the day.
This album is a real grower, and deserves to be played on vinyl to appreciate the warm glow and interlocking grace of vocal and formed guitar sounds.