In music journalism many, many words are thoroughly and repeated abused, stretched by syntax, altered by alliteration, and then buggered senseless by callous metaphors that donâ€™t even have the decency to clip their nails first. â€˜Beautifulâ€™, â€˜epicâ€™ and â€˜soaringâ€™ are perhaps three of the most tragic victims, now broken and battered with decades of misuse, their original sense shaken from them like dandruff from a geeky teenager by bully-like hacks who wouldnâ€™t know what etymology was unless it was a four piece, female fronted prog band. However, when referring to Redjetsonâ€™s new album New General Catalogue I believe that the word beautiful is not only apt, but helps restore some dignity to that once aloof and elusive word.
For Redjetsonâ€™s music is indeed beautiful, the triple guitars offering massive sound scapes which, with the glockenspiel, keys and cello, brilliantly evoke the towering mountain scenes and run-down city streets depicted on the album sleeve; they literally â€˜soarâ€™ above. Like an Aaron Copland symphony, tracks such as â€˜New Europeâ€™ and â€˜This City Moansâ€™ speak of wild frontiers and dangerous quarters were the boundaries between the wild and civilisation are breaking down. Odd (or perhaps not) for six lads from the Essex flat lands.
The root of â€˜Beautifulâ€™ is awfully close to the root word for â€˜warâ€™, and there are times when these musical movements slip in great sonic clashes, waves of chords crashing upon each other like wild rivals. Beautiful has never been concrete, and there are those who will not agree with the ear of this beholder, particularly those who need a metonymic beat that inspires muscle-straining neck movements to incite interest in music. As songs, the tracks are perhaps not particularly strong either, with few lyrics remaining memorable and only the odd shift in patterns to faster, hookier beats, like the early Radiohead moment on â€˜Wednesdayâ€™s Rivalsâ€™ might have you flicking repeat, but his is where the word â€˜epicâ€™ can regain some of its integrity.
These tracks all make up a long, continuous piece, epic in both style and content. The peaks and valleys explored by the instruments ebb and flow in Homerian fashion, while the content, while perhaps not quite so heroic in pitch, is certainly less than ordinary and occasionally waxes elegiac. It is easy to see why they shared a split single with Youth Movie Soundtrack Strategies as they share the same film noir sensibilities, being as concerned with mood and tone as they are with message; in another more modern sense of the word they are beautiful, as they inject their music with the glamour of the indie flick, the road movie, and the coming of age film. Furthermore, like, if I may dare to make the comparison, like a certain famous smile, the beauty is thoroughly enigmatic and subjective; some may question if it is even there at all. Which will of course only increase the enjoyment of those who do see it.