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Simpatico - Club Life EP

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 8 / 5 / 2003

Simpatico - Club Life EP
Label: Matinee Recordings
Format: CDS


"Sweet" indiepop on new five track EP from Simpatico, which once again finds frontman Jason Sweeney pushing new musical boundaries

Sweet’ is a word rarely described to describe pop records by pop writers. I think a lot of people either like to give off a hard, cynical image or like to appear impeccably cool (perhaps, these people are hard, cynical and impeccably cool? Maybe it’s just me that doesn’t think he is, never mind). But anyway, ‘Sweet’ is the best way that I can describe most of the records on the Matinee label, and those performed by Jason Sweeney as Simpatico in particular. Matinee means to me, lovely people making lovely records. I’ve been a fan of Simpatico since the debut 'Postal Museum EP' back in 2001,but this is probably his best record yet. The title track is magical ; Jason’s finest vocal yet over a delicate synth backing, with a little guitar in there as well. It sounds, at first, sort of upbeat and poppy (and, of course, you have this title 'Club Life' which subconsciously tells you it MUST be a dance track) but in fact, after about 3 plays I realised it’s very melancholic. The lyrics finds Jason going back to where he first met his boyfriend and trying to recapture the magic.The canny pop setting with a hint of melancholy that eventually overwhelms the entire track thus could not be more perfectly in line with the theme. Then comes 'Inseparable' which is even better. The opening lines of guitar remind me a lot of Yorkshire’s The Spanish Amanda (by the way, whatever happened to them?), and the opening lyrics are brilliant. “Whether you’ve got love or hatred in your life, someone will say, “Don’t go changing, God you’re perfect”, the sweetest lies you’ve ever heard”. I love it when a pop song can sum up real life so cleverly, but so simply. It’s the reason we all listen to pop music really, because it can speak to us all . It took a while for me to get to track three ('Garden Greene'), because I kept skipping back to the first two over and over (whilst sitting on the late night train on my own, which is my absolute favourite place in the world to listen to music, and I travel like that infrequently enough for it to be a rare treat). When I finally got to it I was simply in awe. It’ has perhaps the weakest melody on the CD but it also uses a combination of jangly guitars and chiming keyboards that I find spellbinding. 'First and Last Warning' is the most guitar based, and has more of a lo-fi vibe than the others, but is also quite catchy. Finally, we have 'Self Conscious'”, which I think is superb. He uses the lyrics to moan at somebody who’s self-consciously unsure around him, who won’t quite loosen up in private, but then tries to be hyper cool in public. I think we can all sympathise with that. Jason even pulls off a pretty convincing impression of a menacingly self-conscious R’n’B/rap type dude on this track (though he still as indiepop as indiepop, really). I can’t , therefore, decide if it’s ironic or unintentional. Sounds cool, though. Before I got this record, I was a little worried. His 'The Difference Between Alone and Lonely' album was so fantastic that I wanted something just as good. Yet I was faced with the dilemma of not knowing what “just as good” would mean. I didn’t want him to stay in the same place musically, because Jason is a person whom I feel pushes the indiepop scene a long way forward with each release. I didn’t know though if another style would grab me in the same way. Thank God for this, then. The 'Club Life' extends further Jason’s music, it’s his most complex effort yet, but also keeps him travelling in the direction that’s so close to my heart. And it’s very sweet.

Track Listing:-
1 Club Life
2 Inseparable
3 Garden Greene
4 First & Last Warning
5 Self-conscious

Label Links:-

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Interview with Jason Sweeney (2002)
Simpatico - Interview with Jason Sweeney
Back for a second interview with Pennyblackmusic, Australian indiepop hero and Simpatico frontman Jason Sweeney talks about to Ben Howarth about the electronic influences of his debut album 'The Difference Between Alone and Lonely'
Interview with Jason Sweeney (2002)

digital downloads


The Boy Is Mine (2002)
Six track mini-album from Pennyblackmusic favourites, released to coincide with US tour, which finds main man Jason Sweeney, never quite losing his grasp on indiepop, but alsotaking inspiration from Spiritualised and My Bloody Valentine
The Difference Between Alone & Lonely (2002)
Postal Museum (2001)

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