I think it’s only right to start this review with a disclosure – I’m already a fan of The 10p Mixes. Ever since I heard their song The Dogs In France back in 2007 and insisted they let me play it on the It’s A Frog’s Life Acoustic Podcast I’ve been hooked. When I started putting on the Liverpool Acoustic Live gigs with Stuart Todd, I booked The 10p Mixes to play at our third gig in April last year. So when Will contacted me and asked me to review their new album – Bedroomsound – I jumped at the chance.
Will, and fellow 10p Mixes member Danni, describe Bedroomsound as a mini album. It contains 11 tracks (10 songs plus a short insert) and is an absolute delight to listen to! It grows on me with every play and is now a permanent feature of my car’s CD collection.
How many music reviews have you read that try to describe the artists by comparing them with two or more other artists? You know the type of thing… “Imagine if Morrisey had joined The Beatles” or “She has the worldliness of Lilly Allen and the sensibility of Duffy.” Well here’s my attempt: Imagine if The Seekers had joined The Beautiful South. The 10p Mixes’ guitar folk sound and close vocal harmonies remind me so much of the Antipodean folk maestros, whereas their songs are about real life that we would all recognise, and are full of character, quirkiness and utter charm like many of the songs from Hull’s finest.
The first track opens with Will’s acoustic guitar and is joined by Danni’s synth. ‘Sorry’ is a fantastic relationship song, all about emotional insecurity. “And if you left me what would I do? I can’t be happy unless I’m hurting you.” The singer then continues with a chorus in which she says sorry for all the horrible things she’s done, only to carry on doing them again in the next verse!
‘Always There’ is sung from the point of view of a woman who pines desperately after a hopelessly dead relationship. The catchy chorus with close harmonies is straight out of The Seekers’ top drawer. This is followed by ‘10p Mix’, the duo’s signature tune in which they rattle off a list of those wonderful sweets that took me back to my junior school days.
You can’t beat a good old fashioned ‘Sticky Disco’ – a great song that once again took me back in time to the days when I did actually go to clubs (Quadrant Park, anyone?). ‘Cashflow Crisis’ is a lament about living life without money. “I’m the queen of discount supermarkets. I buy everything that’s cheap”. Ah, yes. The life of a student, eh? I love the overdubbed vocals at the end.
‘I’m a little horse’ is a throwaway 11 second insert just to prove, if proof were needed, that Will and Danni aren’t taking this music lark too seriously! This is followed by another lament – ‘Nice Day For A Coat’ is an Autumnal song which really captures that time when the weather changes and we finally realise that summer is over and winter is on the way.
I’m not sure if Will and Danni were thinking along the same lines as me when they wrote the next song but ‘(Baby) I Stopped Loving You (Long Ago)’ sound like the answer song to Always There. This time we hear the story from the point of view of the person who left the relationship and is very definitely not still in love with their ex – you know, the one who’s not still in denial!
‘The Future’ starts in the past as Danni thinks about all the things she can’t remember, such as the name of her Year 3 teacher, the face of her best friend when she was 5, and the boy (Peter) who sent her a Valentine’s card in 1999. These were the days when we had high hopes and dreams for the future which didn’t quite come to fruition. “Now we’re living in the future, I thought by now we’d be on Mars.” Yeah, so did I, guys. So did I.
‘Coming Home’ is a reunion song from someone returning from a year in France, and like many of the tracks on Bedroomsound is short and to the point. ‘The Dogs In France’ finishes the album by continuing the France strand from the previous song. Made up fact of the day: French canines bark in an accent. “Waff waff!”
As I said at the start, I really like this album, although there are a number of songs that are crying out for a bigger sound. For example, in my head I could hear a Beach Boys style multi-part harmony while listening to the middle section of 10p Mix which would have fitted perfectly in real life. A few more songs would have benefited from being beefed up with percussion, bass and (maybe) electric guitar, and I really hope the 10p Mixes are able to expand the group in the future to give the excellent songs the treatment they deserve.
The other point of note is that of the 10 tracks (not counting ‘horse’) on this mini-album, half of them are under 3 minutes long and I think that songs such as Nice Day For A Coat, 10p Mix, and Coming Home could have been longer. This might also be easier to do with a fuller band.
Danni and Will are excellent songwriters and musicians, and are not afraid to get out there and flaunt their different style of music to anyone who’ll listen. I will certainly be listening out for future recordings, and look forward to seeing The 10p Mixes play live again soon. Anyone for a cola bottle?
© 2010 Graham Holland – graham[at]liverpoolacoustic.co.uk
Liverpool Acoustic – liverpoolacoustic.co.uk
Bedroomsound is available to buy from last.fm/music/The+10p+Mixes
The 10p Mixes are playing The Tiger Lounge in Manchester on Wednesday 9th June. Full details on the facebook event page.
Graham Holland is the owner and editor of the Liverpool Acoustic website, and runs Liverpool Acoustic’s award-winning live music events with local musician Stuart Todd. In real life he’s a Web Development Officer, has been producing podcasts on a regular basis since July 2006, and runs a number of websites for other organisations. He lives in Wavertree with his husband and their cat Xiao Hei.
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