It’s great to see Derry/London-based indie Smalltown America still out there nourishing new talent. A label that has been nothing but consistent with their output since 2001.
Branding the stamp this time around is former psychobilly art-rockers Red Organ Serpent Sound-man Chris McConaghy under his new Our Krypton Son moniker. Released as both a limited edition coloured 7″ and download this is the perfect follow up to his début single ‘Catalonian Love Song’ (Conor’s review here). ‘Plutonium’ the title track, is a soft piano ballad that drifts between a hushed Jeff Tweedy-style delivery and a growly Dennis Wilson-esque ode, complete with warped ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ style studio effects. It’s short and sweet but delivered perfectly.
On ‘Nowhere’ the band are in full effect in a glorious fuzz pop waltz. The major to minor chords are out, while the drums could be pulled from several Ace Records classics. Again the vocals seal the deal, sitting perfectly over the musicianship, never straying from their comfortable register and deservedly so.
Closing track ‘As I Fade Away’ is another gorgeous piano ballad, taking in hints of Americana and showcasing once again McConaghy’s knack for imaginative chord progressions. His low vocal register works perfectly in tandem with his finger positioning, capturing a stunning take, whether live or otherwise. Knowing that this record was recorded in a large industrial warehouse (an asphalt roofing factory to be precise), it’s easy to imagine McConaghy sitting there with his piano, surrounded by this over-intimidating space. If that’s what it takes to capture the mood and set the scene, then producer Sam Williams (Supergrass, Kula Shaker) has done a mighty fine job in doing so.
Let’s hope that Williams took a trip to Krypton to stack up on Krytonite as it seems to be doing wonders for our son.