Co Pilgrim - Moon Lagoon
Optimistic recluse Mike Gale and his Winchester/Oxford collective return with eclectic indie-alt-prog opus "Moon Lagoon", their 4th album in 4 years. Farm Music is a new label run from Farm Music studio in Oxfordshire, known for recording many acclaimed alternative albums (Black Nielson, Goldrush, Danny & the Champions of the World, Electric Soft Parade, The Dreaming Spires, Ralfe Band & Co-pilgrim). ‰Û÷Still Life Hear Me‰۪ by Black Nielson was the first of these back in 2000, so it seems fitting that the label's first release should be from ex-Black Nielson frontman Mike Gale's present combo, Co-pilgrim. Opening track ‰Û÷Turn It Around‰۪ is a clear statement of intent. Gentle acoustic strums swept along by synth and then blown away by power-fuzz guitar; a different Co-pilgrim to the harmony-pop exponents of yore, grittier and more robust, informed by past travails (Gale's recent loss of a parent and an often debilitating agoraphobia) yet resolute and optimistic in pursuit of the yearned-for mythical utopia of the 'moon lagoon'. Both the second song, ‰Û÷You'll Look Pretty As a Picture When The Acid Rain Hits Ya‰۪ and title track, ‰Û÷Moon Lagoon‰۪ feed 90s American alt-rock through Copilgrim's pop filter (check the almost Kim Deal-esque BVs). However, it is first single and album centre-piece ‰Û÷Cylindrical Fire Escapes‰۪ which really showcases the ambition of the record; producer & multi-instrumentalist Joe Bennett (Dreaming Spires, Goldrush, Saint Etienne, Danny & the Champs) paints an ethereal soundscape of swirling synths and chiming guitars, driven by Andy Reaney's rolling bass and bursts of pulsating rhythm from drummer/percussionist Mike Monaghan (Willie J Healey, Gaz Coombes, Man Without Country, Ralfe Band), and beautifully transcended at the finale by Claire Bennett's soaring vocals. Side 2 is more introverted, the delicately heartstring-tugging ‰Û÷Thank My Stars", preceding the baroque-pop of ‰Û÷I'm Not A Wallflower I'm The Wall‰۪ which then opens out into the weary psychedelia of ‰Û÷Digging Holes In The Whites Of Your Eyes‰۪. Gale's lyrical dexterity is as usual to the fore, underscoring a sophistication developed through years of honing his craft as a songwriter and a keen ear for a memorable tune. Recent Press : "Mike Gale distils sunshine pop classicism into bittersweet songs that channel the warmth of the west coast 70s via deep pile harmonies and layered instruments."
LP on Lagoon blue‰۪ vinyl.