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Baptiste - Kissing With Your Eyes Open

  by John Clarkson

published: 17 / 12 / 2001

Baptiste - Kissing With Your Eyes Open
Label: Linear
Format: 7"


In a musical era in which the mediocre is too often accepted as adequate, and in which quantity frequently takes the place of quality, it is always refreshing to come across a band that is prepared to

In a musical era in which the mediocre is too often accepted as adequate, and in which quantity frequently takes the place of quality, it is always refreshing to come across a band that is prepared to work hard to fine tune and detail its material to the highest possible standard. Baptiste is one such group. First formed in 1997, this West London act has an intensely loyal local following, and drawing favourable comparisions with the Velvet Underground, the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Go Betweens, has released a single a year for the last three years. 'Kissing With Your Eyes Open', Baptiste's latest offering, like its two predecessors, 'A New Career in a New Town' (May 1999) and 'The Quiet Times' (April 2000), is released on 7" vinyl and is limited to 500 copies. In nearly all other senses though, it proves to be something of a departure for the band. As well as the vinyl edition, the group has also released a CD edition, which, restricted to just 100 copies, is only available from gigs and the band directly. Baptiste has also recently expanded from a quartet to a quintet, and although its original and core members Wayne Gooderham (vocals and rhythm guitar) ; his brother Marc (drums) and Colin Moors (lead guitar) all remain, the new single is the debut recording to feature new bassist, Scott Brodie, and for the first time a keyboardist, Chris Ayles. While the group's two previous singles were melancholic in tone, the breezy 'Kissing With Your Eyes Open' is also the band's most hopeful and optimistic record to date. Songwriter Wayne Gooderham lists The Velvet Underground's '1969 Live' album as one of his favourite records of all time, and 'Kissing With Your Eyes Open' has a similar raw and organic energy. It begins with Gooderham lightly strumming his rhythm guitar, then the other instrumentation kicks in to build up a magnificent wall of sound. Ayles' restless organ-like keyboards are a dominant, powerful force, while Gooderham's initially bemused, but ultimately ecstatic vocals are about finding love from the unlikely source of the girl next door. The B side 'A Worthy Grudge is a Beautiful Thing' is a live favourite and an instrumental and is equally forceful. Bookended by a hilarious snatch of dialogue about the perils of being bored from Mike Leigh's 'Naked', it is a vituperative, urgent slab of no nonsense punk action. Exciting and inventive, 'Kissing With Your Eyes Open' is easily one of the best singles of the year so far, and Baptiste are an undoubted presence.With its debut album, provisionally titled 'A Life So Blue', expected later this year, this group is one of the great hopes of British indie rock. More information about Baptiste can be found at their website www.baptiste.org.uk or alternatively by contacting the band's manager. Anthony Brady. Anthony's e-mail address is linear101@hotmail.com and his mobile telephone number is 07748-155200. Alternatively write to Baptiste, Flat 2, 249 Acton High Street, London, W3 9BY.

Track Listing:-
1 Kissing With Your Eyes Open
2 A Worthy Grudge is a Beautiful Thing

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