The Cobweb by Raymond Carver

A few minutes ago, I stepped onto the deck
of the house. From there I could see and hear the water,
and everything that’s happened to me all these years.
It was hot and still. The tide was out.
No birds sang. As I leaned against the railing
a cobweb touched my forehead.
It caught in my hair. No one can blame me that I turned
and went inside. There was no wind. The sea
was dead calm. I hung the cobweb from the lampshade.
Where I watch it shudder now and then when my breath
touches it. A fine thread. Intricate.
Before long, before anyone realizes,
I’ll be gone from here


The Japanese War Effort – Sings Of A Dear Green Place

Very much like his beloved Inverness Caledonian Thistle, The Japanese War Effort has, over the past year or so, pushed himself into the top flight of new Scottish music to keep an eye on.  His survival at the top, like his club, will be dependant on the quality of output from now on.  And, much like his club, the signs are very promising indeed, with the release of this new EP.  At this point, I would quite like to rip into Caley Thistle a little but, given the 4-0 humbling they gave my own beloved Dundee United recently, I shall refrain from saying anything bad.

Football analogy – which I think James may like  given the samples on his various records –  out of the way,  let us turn our attention to the endless stream of music that seems to spout forth from one James Ewan Scott.

It’s kind of weird.  Though The Japanese War Effort was the first thing I heard from James after the split of Boyfriend/Girlfriend, given that he is one half of Conquering Animal Sound, it does feel like it has become almost a side project for the man.   Music created in his spare time if you like.   Which seems a little unfair then that the man has such talent that he can constantly produce quality records, and whats more, give them away for free!    

If I’m perfectly honest, whilst I liked previous ep “Surrender To Summer”,  it just never really grabbed me the way that album “I Will Leave You Now, And Two Loud Speakers Will Take My Place” had.  So for me, this new ep is a bit more my cup of tea.  It’s more gritty than its predecessor perhaps.  Maybe the influence of Glasgow on an artist?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that the move has done The Japanese War Effort not one bit of harm.

The record starts with ‘The Cathcart Circle’, an ambient start to the record which merges nicely into ‘I Hate Glasgow’ – a track which kind of washed over me until towards the end when the gritty undetone of this record starts to show its face.  A wonderful moment occurs at the end of this track when a jaunty wee version of ‘I Belong To Glasgow’ is overlayed with some pretty sinister spoken word.  I remember this tune being sung to me as a kid by my Glaswegian father, but I never knew it could become so creepy!  Brilliant.

The ambient feel of the record doesn’t really change until the more up tempo, and wonderfully titled, ‘Fake Tanned Out Yr Tits’ kicks in and from that point on the mood is much more uptempo, only pausing for breath on ‘Cake Face’ before launching in to EP closer and stand out track ‘Sunglasses Sucka’.  The record finishing with the lyrics ‘Glasgow’s not so bad’ I guess sums up how Scott feels about his new home.  Throughout, as we’ve come to expect, glitch rhythms, atmosphere and static pepper the music, giving it a stage on which to perform.  

If this is the influence Glasgow has on his music, maybe he should stay there.  This is another fine installment of free download music from The Japanese War Effort.  Well worth the 5 minutes or so it takes to download.  Check it out here.  Enjoy.