So many well-known albums turn 30 this year and Steve Taylor-Bryant and Susan Omand travel back to 1990 to revisit some of the sounds of their youth that made parents shout "Turn that noise down!" This week, Susan gets some 30 year old Cake...
The Trash Can Sinatras are one of those bands that sound different to what you’d expect from their name as they are neither trashy rock nor big band swing. I’ll be honest, they aren’t a band that I listened to back in the day so I was very pleasantly surprised eventually giving this album a list when it pitched up on our 30 year retrospective list.
How best to describe them then? From a first listen to this album, “imagine if Aztec Camera covered Paul Simon’s album Graceland.” That’s the sound. It’s properly folky in bits, like You Made Me Feel, but laid back boppy in others, like January’s Little Joke. The guitars are mostly light acoustic or plinky, the vocal is undeniably Scottish but there’s an extra something that adds a different flavour to the other Scottish bands that were around at the time. For me, it’s that “World Music” sound that I especially notice in the tracks Obscurity Knocks, Circling the Circumference or Only Tongue Can Tell.
Having been a fan of Paul Simon’s Graceland back in the day, as well as Aztec Camera, this combination sat really well with me and I enjoyed the album on the whole. It was a little Muzak-y to sit and give full concentration to, for me, but as music to have on in the background it was great. Something, I guess, to think about is that the happy plinkiness of Cake was drowned out at the time by the darker and more intense music movements, yes Seattle Grunge scene I’m looking at you, that were just emerging in Scotland so it’s no real surprise that the Trashcan Sinatras seemed to pass me by at the time, because I mentally and physically started to “switch off” to new music around then. And this was actually “new music” back then, because Cake was their debut studio album, so I’m listening to a band finding their recording feet and it may be worth my time investigating some of the newer stuff in their portfolio to see if the things I enjoyed about their music stayed around, in the face of great adversity… yes Seattle Grunge scene, still you.
Have a listen to the first track on the album, Obscurity Knocks.
Image - Amazon