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Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures

Gin (Fika)

By • Mar 14th, 2014 • Category: Album review

If you’re looking for a true vagabond musician, search no further please! Stanley Brinks is the man you need. With over 100 albums under his belt, and a life spent between Berlin, San Francisco, Malta and New York (jealous?), he definitely fits the criteria of the travelling songwriter/story teller. On this album, Gin, created in collaboration with The Wave Pictures, the songs paint a vivid picture of life on the road… and it’s not all glamorous.

For example, on ‘Time for Me’, Stan sings a slightly depressing song about the lows of constant travel over a spooky Moroccan saxophone motif. And on ‘Blues About Krishna’s Latest Avatar’ he sings some very simple love lyrics over a moody, Tom Waits-like ballad. The contrast between the primary school lyrics and dark music creates a vibe creepier than a clown dressed as a nurse.

The song that really makes me think life on the road might be getting to Mr Brinks though is ‘No Goodbyes’ where he sings the line “We are gonna have heaps of fun/ We are gonna drive, ride, and run”. It’s not delivered convincingly at all, and with a truly sombre bass line in the background, it’s probably the lowest point of the record. In moments like these, I think Stan needs a year off, with a comfy sofa, Loose Women on the telly, and an oven full of home baking…

This is just one side of the story however, and that’s what makes the album a good listen. Other songs on the record celebrate life on the road, and therefore make it a nicely balanced piece of work. ‘I Wanted You’ has lines like “We sat around in the cafe / and smoked all day”, punctuated by ripping guitar solos that sound like they’ve been recorded though a rusty tin can. In a good way. And on ‘Spinola Bay’ there are nicely-delivered spoken parts over tropical percussion, recounting the crusty yet groovy types you encounter when travelling with the EasyJet Generation.

As well as singing about the lives of these pretty vagrant characters, Stanley Brinks finds an emotional depth and humanity to them as well. On one of the standout tracks, ‘Max in the Elevator’, he sings “In our digital-schmigital days / humanity finds new ways” over a sweetly strummed guitar. It’s a nice touch, found sprinkled throughout the album. Especially on the song ‘Parking Lots’. Here, he pitches an answer to our urbanised problems, full of roundabouts, motorways, and car parks: “Maybe fall in love, maybe just fall / Maybe just hang around with one and all”.

Wise words every town planner should heed. Maybe that’s a job Stanley Brinks should consider! I like idea of a town designed as a hang out. Anyway, whatever his next career move is, I hope he and The Wave Pictures still have the time to make more albums like this, because what they do next will probably be just as interesting and enjoyable.

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