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Simpatico - The Difference Between Alone & Lonely

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 13 / 3 / 2002



Simpatico - The Difference Between Alone & Lonely
Label: Matinee Recordings
Format: CD

intro

After hearing the debut release from Simpatico about a year ago it would not be an understatement to say that I could hardly wait for the arrival of a full length. 'The Postal Museum EP' was a rather


After hearing the debut release from Simpatico about a year ago it would not be an understatement to say that I could hardly wait for the arrival of a full length. 'The Postal Museum EP' was a rather special record, and combined a sense of melody and an obvious appreciation of the finest music that the indiepop scene has to offer, with a hint of melancholy and subtly clever, thought provoking lyrics. What more could you ask for in a record, huh? After that I got my hands on a copy of the first two singles from Sweet William, the previous group of the man behind Simpatico, Jason Sweeney, and that began my obsession with Jason’s music and with the Matinee label itself. Since then Jason has released a split single with the Pines (another group with a new record out recently!), which while perhaps slightly less powerful, was by no means weak. If you want to know a little more about him, an interview can be found in the archives pages. There will be another one next month, in which I’ll be discussing the new record. So on to the new album, and what can I say? This is a fantastic record, and thoroughly enjoyable. Like all Jason’s music it is not instant. It took me quite a few plays to really get into it, but it was well worth the effort. The sound is a little warmer, and fuller than on the EP. In his interview last year, Jason talked at length of his love for Australian indiepop bands, and that dedication is borne out here, with a warm, beautiful sound prevalent on most of the tracks. He continues to use a combination of acoustic guitars and drum machines, but also adds some electric guitars and effects. The album really shines in this elevated setting, and he is beginning to move away from the cheap indie sound that he has favoured in the past. For the most part however, the music is relatively simple in terms of instrumentation. Jason challenges the listener more with quite odd song structures and his vocals. The latter have drawn comparisons to Morrissey in the past, but I can’t see why. His vocals are delivered really quietly, but pleasantly. They sort of remind me of an in tune Stuart Murdoch, although Jason has an Australian accent. These vocals are one of the album’s real strengths. Where this album really triumphs, however, is in its sense of inventiveness. My impression is that Jason has decided that cult appeal within the indiepop scene is all well and good, but that he is capable of music that achieves genuine greatness. There is a great deal of variety, both in musical style (which ranges from drawn out slow paced tracks that focus on mood over melody, to melancholic pop tunes like the brilliant 'Urgency') and in the lyrics. If you like anything on the Matinee label or you like bands like Belle and Sebastian, Stereolab, early REM, and the Spanish Amanda then you will simply love this. There is no doubt that this is my favourite record of the year to date, and that it is compulsive listening. Make space in your CD rack now!



Track Listing:-
1 Let Him Go
2 Drove It Down
3 School Life
4 Arrogance
5 Shelved
6 Street Talk
7 Urgency
8 His Goodbye Echoes
9 Spin
10 Carrying Photographs
11 Preciously Inside
12 Cold Season


Label Links:-
http://matineerecordings.com/
https://www.facebook.com/matineerecordings



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interviews


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




reviews


Club Life EP (2003)
"Sweet" indiepop on new five track EP from Simpatico, which once again finds frontman Jason Sweeney pushing new musical boundaries
The Boy Is Mine (2002)
Postal Museum (2001)


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