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Pacific Ocean Fire / Don's Mobile Barbers - Staying In On Christmas Eve / Christmas In Birstall

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 18 / 7 / 2006



Pacific Ocean Fire / Don's Mobile Barbers - Staying In On Christmas Eve / Christmas In Birstall
Label: Select Label
Format: 10"

intro

Appealing split EP from likeable new British Americana acts, Pacific Ocean Fire and Don's Mobile Barbers


The three songs from Pacific Ocean Fire which open this EP are followed by four songs from Don’s Mobile Barbers, both of whom are new names to me. Sometimes it’s good not knowing anything about a band, just letting the music speak for itself and not having any preconceived ideas about how they sound or who they sound like. The Leicester-based Pacific Ocean Fire’s opening shot, ‘Never Gonna Make Old Bones’, with its banjo and sing-along melody, is the type of song which we hear all over the place these days. The band make a pleasant typical alt. country sound but there’s something in singer Jon Bennett's vocals which stand out; which make the song just that little bit more interesting. The brass at the end is also an unexpected surprise which works well. Their second song, ‘Lost Chapters’, is something else entirely. Sounding as world weary and hurt as Gram Parsons on a good day one can also hear traces of early Ryan Adams in there. It's that good and Jon proves that he does, indeed, have a remarkable voice. The song boasts a beautiful melody and those heartfelt vocals carry you off into the world of Pacific Ocean Fire, which sounds a whole world away from Leicester. For their third song, ‘I’m A Stranger Here’, the band carry on the feel of the second song. With slide guitar, what sounds like a xylophone and those aching vocals it’s another heart-wrenching alt. country tune which recalls Grandaddy, which is no bad thing especially as there is a gap now that needs to be filled. As a taster for a full length album which should appear in September it certainly works and the band are undertaking a UK tour around that time too. Don’s Mobile Barbers also recall Grandaddy, especially in the second song on this EP, ‘Always The Same’. There’s that melancholy feel that Jason Lytle and company were so good at achieving. Although there are still some of the alt.country sounds their EP sharing friends produce here this band make a more atmospheric sound over their four songs. Try to imagine an alt. country version of Flaming Lips and you’re somewhere close to what ‘Anymore’ sounds like. For their closing song, ‘Solutions’ the band create a dreamy soundscape which is perfect Sunday morning music, a beautiful sound but somehow unsettling at the same time. More please! This release is a fine way of discovering two bands that could loosely be grouped together in the type of music they play. As always with these EPs they are a taster for full length albums and they do the job; they are strong enough for you to seek out further work by both bands.



Track Listing:-
1 Pacific Ocean Fire- Staying In On Christmas Eve
2 Don's Mobile Barbers- Christmas In Birstall



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