Review: Ivan Campo – What Went Wrong?
Published on April 16th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Having previously only spotted their name standing out of a Secret Garden Party line-up like a buggered thumb (if you’re a football fan you’ll understand why), Preston three-piece Ivan Campo were heartily recommended to Rocksucker by Yorkie from Moongoose, who described them as “really magical”. Now we’ve checked out last year’s What Went Wrong? EP, we are inclined to agree.
Imagine if latter-day Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci stumbled into that machine from The Fly holding a copy of Paul McCartney’s first solo album; well, it would rumble for a bit, ring a cheerful ‘ding!’ and Ivan Campo would walk out the other side. Yes, it’s that beguiling, so beguiling in fact that Rocksucker appears to have been beguiled into answering a non-existent question about how beguiling it all is. Yes; that beguiling.
Opener “Dice Man” lays down a soft, sad ‘n’ Sufjan-y combination of light, fluttery piano and finger-picked acoustic, establishing a lovely pastoral atmosphere before hitting us with a song-craft bitch-slap of a shift into a minor key, before “Wolf” takes some nifty Spanish guitar drills and scatters them all over what could have been a lost Ray Davies classic from the late ’60s.
“Sleep” represents just under two minutes of gorgeous Gorky-ness, “The Great Con” infuses Wild West whistling and guitar twangs into a richly melodic, Arthur Lee sort of thing bearing the refrain “When will you learn? / Playing with fire causes third-degree burns”), while “Local Dealer” stands back and watches while a gangster Jeff Lynne does unspeakable things to a breezy, Badly Drawn Boy-esque piano trot.
All of which leaves “Hurricane Ivan” to bewitch us with the kind of discordant psych-folk that could have featured on The Bees‘ (criminally underrated) last album Every Step’s a Yes, and finally the verging-on-acid-folk “Bleakest Darkness” – comfortably the longest song here at just under five minutes – lulls us out with doleful clarinet, weird noises and some luxurious backing oohs.
Roll on some manner of album, we say!
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!