The Catenary Wires is the new project from Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey, best known for making fuzzy, sixties girl-group inspired indie-pop in their previous bands Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and Tender Trap. With The Catenary Wires, they have created something gentler, more emotive and melancholy, although still fuelled by their great love for pop melodies and harmonies.
The Catenary Wires started when the two left London and found themselves in the middle of the countryside, with no record stores or guitar shops, and no indie scene as such. Having initially abandoned the idea of having a band, they started writing their sad and delicate songs on their daughter’s small acoustic guitar, in the winter, just for themselves.
The duo were enticed to play in public for an event celebrating their old label, Sarah Records, at the Arnolfini Art Gallery in Bristol. They played a few Heavenly songs but also took the opportunity to try out the new material. From the positive reaction, they realised that two people on stage could be a proper band, if a small, fragile one.
Their debut release 'Red Red Skies' is a mini-album comprising eight evocative songs, most of which are about relationships falling apart. It starts with their first single ‘Intravenous’, a closely sung duet which talks about the mutual dependency of love, and of resignation to a closeness so extreme that it becomes destructive.
‘When You Walk Away’ tells of a relationship started in the full knowledge that it won’t last. Inspired by Leanne Shapton’s novel “Important Artefacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris: Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry”, the song exposes Amelia’s voice and Rob’s acoustic guitar at their rawest and most moving.
‘Throw Another Love Song on the Fire’ is a song about heartbreak, while at the same time a satire on other songs about heartbreak, with the depth of Rob’s voice as he sings “thanks for making me unhappy” invoking Stephin Merritt (Magnetic Fields). ‘A Different Scene’ is about missing someone from a long distance, and the feeling of sending off emails and texts and never being sure of their impact, while ‘Things I Love’ is about how once-much-loved things can become poisoned by bad memories.
Some of the songs, such as ‘Like A Fool’ and ‘The Records We Never Play’, are bittersweet duets, with a nod to Johnny Cash and June Carter, Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot, or Adam Green and Binki Shapiro. Others, such as ‘When You Walk Away’ and ‘Too Late I Love You’ are more introspective, with Amelia’s voice reminiscent of Karen Peris (The Innocence Mission) or Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star).
The band’s name refers to the chain of curves made by the overhead cables seen suspended from pylons or above electric trains, cables that can seem to lead you off to somewhere different and unknown.
The mini-album is produced by Brian O’Shaughnessy (who has worked with people like Denim, Beth Orten, Comet Gain, The Clientele, and Allo Darlin’), and Amelia and Rob played all of the instruments between them. They stripped away all the drums and electric guitars and anything that makes noise too easily, to create a beautiful and deliberately vulnerable collection of songs.
Indie pop legends Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey have an indie pop musical partnership that stretches back to Heavenly in the '80s, through to Marine Research, Sportique, and, most recently, Tender Trap. They also have a long-running personal relationship, and when they moved to the country it spurred them to start writing songs together on acoustic guitars. Thus the Catenary Wires were formed. Red Red Skies is the duo's first (mini) album, and for anyone familiar with their past work, the lack of jangling electric guitars and hopped-up tempos might be a shock to the system. Instead, there are gently strummed guitars, subtle keyboards, the occasional quiet electric guitar line, gentle percussion, and bits of bells or melodica framing Fletcher and Pursey's vocals. The two sound wonderful together, with Fletcher's airy tone blending nicely with Pursey's Lee Hazlewood-ian croon. The songs focus on life's smaller disappointments and bummers with a fragile tenderness that's very much in line with their past projects, but songs like "Too Late, I Love You" and the very lovely "The Records We Never Play" have a naked honesty that's new. Maybe it's the lack of jangle and crash surrounding her, but Fletcher has never sounded as fragile or quietly intense before. Not all of the album reaches the same emotional levels, as there are a few happy little pop tunes like "Like a Fool" and "Intravenous" to keep toes tapping happily. Red Red Skies is a well-balanced 26 minutes of sweetness and light, heartbreak and gloom, delivered with a light touch and the duo's reliably adept melodic skills fully intact. --All Music Guide
What happens with Generation C86 grows up, moves to the country and settles into married life? Such is the current musical inspiration for Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey, once of beloved indie twee-smiths Talulah Gosh and Heavenly. Named after the curvature formed by hanging electrical cables, The Catenary Wires compose rueful, slightly unshaven indie-folk meditations on long-haul romance and midlife anxiety. Now an OBE, university professor and ex government economist, Fletcher can still tickle the tear ducts with broken-hearted ballads like ‘When You Walk Away’ or ‘Things I Love”, which pays nostalgic homage to “indie clubs in Islington” and ‘Repetition’ by The Fall. Quietly lovely. --Uncut Magazine
I’ll be mildly surprised if one of these songs from Red Red Skies doesn’t end up on some charming indie movie that Netflix recommends to me 18 months after all the kids have already watched it. This debut from the Catenary Wires (Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey) has undeniable appeal — stopping short of heartbreak overindulgence — and seems perfect for soundtracking idealized cinema heartbreak. It’s a quiet walk-in-the-park reflection on the end of relationships rather than a tearful launching of someone else’s stuff out a window. Each of the eight tracks on this brief indie-pop album takes on the dissolution of relationships. “Throw Another Love Song on the Fire” might capture it all not in its title, but in its calm delivery. When Pursey sings, “I am cold and lonely / And these flames are the only / Warmth inside,” it’s a knowing line and a bit reflective on the point of writing this sort of song. If that line strikes you as cloying, this could be a tough album for you. Fortunately, Fletcher and Pursey (of Tender Trap among other acts) are typically sharp songwriters. Opening track and first single “Intravenous” casually states the risk and insecurity inherent in relationships. The feeling that “Intravenous: nothing ever comes between us / It’s the only way that we know” is shadowed by the knowledge that “nothing lasts forever.” That the questions about the relationships are delivered in harmony over a lovely guitar part adds to the sinking process. “Too Late, I Love You” comes at a breakup from a different angle. “It was over before it started,” Fletcher sings. “It made you hardened – your heart against me.” The acoustic guitar creeps through the song. If the hurt was inevitable, whatever comes next isn’t, and it might be something unnerving. The duo makes the chorus pretty, but Fletcher chooses an eerie note for “you,” leaving ghosts in the corners of the room. This despair leads to the slightly bouncier “Like a Fool” and its singer’s willingness to be fooled. “Say you love me / Say that it’s true / I’ll believe you / Like a fool,” captures the only positive response to the world of Red Red Skies where everything falls apart. It’s a world where intertwined pairs spiral apart and relationship stuff ends up, at best, on eBay. Like the relationships, this world doesn’t last long. At 26 minutes, the album checks out before its weight catches up to it. The music and vocals are light enough that the disc doesn’t turn morbid, but it still hang on a concept that, except for miserable moments, isn’t best to dwell in for too long. Red Red Skies isn’t quite one-note (even if it’s a pretty note), but it’s focused enough that it makes its point concisely and moves on. As an album, it’s a quick, pleasing listen, but it may obscure the strength of some cuts as individual songs. Taken separately, they’re almost stronger. Kind of like the people in these relationshi—oh, never mind. --Dusted Magazine
Have I ever mentioned I adore Amelia Fletcher? If you're answering with a resounding "yes, at least 15 times... I get it already," then all I can do is thank you for being a regular and ask for your patience because the new mini album with Rob Pursey, her partner at home as well as on stage, is quite a statement, and you of the great ear would want to know all about that, right? With the release of first single "Intravenous," we have had more than a month to take in the back-to-basics sound of the Cantenary Wires, and it has been quite a grower for me. So, while waiting for the eight tracks that comprise 'Red Red Skies,' I scoured the four corners of the Web for every tidbit on this new project. I learned after Tender Trap had been put to bed the couple got away from the scene and took the family to the far reaches of the countryside. Just for kicks, they began writing songs on a kid's acoustic guitar. In May 2014, when they were invited to take part in a concert celebrating the exhibit "Between Hello and Goodbye: The Secret World of Sarah Records" at Arnolfini Art Gallery in Bristol, the duo performed some of the new material for an unsuspecting and appreciative audience. There was quite a buzz, and the Cantenary Wires was born. Tackling serious subjects is nothing new for these two. Remember the B-side "Hearts and Crosses" when they were in Heavenly? The thing is, you barely noticed these were sad songs because they were buried in the catchiest pop hooks you ever heard. This time around the melancholy has never been more palpable. When there are just two of you, there is nowhere to hide. This is especially true on "When You Walk Away." It's as if Fletcher is garnering all the strength she has to even get the words out. When she refers to all of the books, CDs and art given by her lover as "lying in a... pile," well, it's about the loneliest pause put on wax. This is, without a doubt, the most moving song I have heard this year, and let me tell you, there are a couple of other candidates on 'Red Red Skies' vying for that title. Fans of their earlier work are going to be surprised, but pleasantly so, by the Catenary Wires. Amelia and Rob are indie pop's answer to Johnny and June, right down to the autoharp in a couple of places. Amelia has always been at the forefront, but Pursey isn't the guy in the back on bass this time around, and his vocal contributions are essential to making these songs work, much like when Calvin Johnson popped up on Heavenly songs in days of yore. Earlier this week, to whet the appetite while waiting for that June 2 release date for 'Red Red Skies,' we were treated to a video for the satirical "Throw Another Love Song On The Fire." Enjoy that below while you decide the best way to preorder. Here in America, you can get the CD from Matinée Recordings. Also, the clear 10" vinyl is in limited supply from Darla Records. For those of you in Europe, it's best to go with Elefant Records. --Linear Tracking Lives
Grand Poobahs of Brit indie Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey (Talulah Gosh, Heavenly) return as a duo full of humour, heartache and Magnetic Fields-levels of arid self-awareness. --MOJO Magazine
Oh, golly, oh gosh, anorak-sia is back with this Heavenly revival of the twee, C86 sounds of Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey, household names around these parts and former mates who graced our turntables for the past 30 years courtesy of stratospheric pop masterpieces via their Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research, and Tender Trap projects. The Catenary Wires picks up the gauntlet with eight angelic acts of harmonic pop that prove they’ve lost none of their sheen at crafting the softest, sweetest pop that has launched a thousand bands, from Belle & Sebastian and Saint Etienne, to Elefant stablemates like Camera Obscura, The Yearning, The School, The Magic Theatre, and Trembling Blue Stars/Lightning in a Twilight Hour. Fletcher’s voice can still melt hearts at a thousand paces, the softly strummed acoustic accompaniment adds a tender folksy vibe to the set, and there’s a melancholic pall that wanders around the room in silent slippers so as not to disturb the kiddies sleeping in the room next door. Elefant is also to be commended for including the lyrics, so we can follow along the seemingly intertwined stories of shaky relationships, forlorn lovers, and tentative couplings that may never reach the next plateau. The album title comes from one of the stronger tracks, ‘The Records We Never Play’: “Red, red skies in the morning/Still sore from yesterday/Our last day, it is dawning…/We could share out the records/We never play…” Our lovers are lying about recalling “their first day”, but things are so different now. This sense of lost opportunities permeates the tracks, so if you’re in the throes of an awkward relationship (or just ending one), this can be a painful listening experience. But sometimes knowing you’re not the only one to have loved and lost can make the pain go away a little faster. The song titles say it all, accompanied by lyrics like “I’m waiting for the day/When you walk away/And you never said you wouldn’t leave me” (‘When You Walk Away’); “Throw another love song on the fire/I lost my inspiration/Cos my enamouration/Was a lie/Thanks for making me unhappy…” (‘Throw Another Love Song On The Fire)’; “It was over before it started/In my head only/Still shocked how it made you harden/Your heart against me” (‘Too Late, I Love you’). Shit, I haven’t been this depressed since I heard the poetry of Morrissey and Ian Curtis put to music (that’s The Smiths and Joy Division for all you kids out there). But sometimes it takes a catharsis like this to breed an epiphany, so if you’re going through a rough spot in your relationship, play this for each other and discover all the wonderful reasons you came together in the first place. 10/10 --Soundblab
The first line of Red Red Skies is a bit of a giveaway. “Nothing ever comes between us,” they sing, almost rendering void the themes of relationship breakdown that follow. But this acoustic duo of Amelia Fletcher (OBE, no less) and Rob Pursey certainly know their stuff: performing together since the early days of Talulah Gosh in 1986, they now turn their ever-sharp songwriting prowess in the direction of love’s various uncertainties. When You Walk Away demonstrates how insecurity can unravel even the tightest of couplings, while Things I Love obsesses over totemistic objects in true adolescent fashion, magnifying the genuine feelings they represent. Throw Another Love Song On The Fire, meanwhile, manages to out-Stephin Merritt Stephin Merritt by pastiching The Magnetic Fields’ wryest and folksiest of tendencies. Ultimately, The Catenary Wires skillfully reinvent love’s frailties as strengthening human characteristics: after all, red skies are the surest indication of a bright new dawn ahead. --The Skinny
By my count, The Catenary Wires is the fifth collaboration between Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey in the last 30 years, following Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and Tender Trap. A basic aesthetic prevailed throughout all of those bands, with slight variations: Talulah Gosh was a bit punkier, Heavenly focused on complicated harmonies and contrapuntal vocal lines between Amelia and keyboardist Cathy Rogers, Marine Research had a touch more of an electronic bent. But The Catenary Wires — which for the first time presents Amelia and Rob, a longtime couple, as a duo — is an entirely different thing. Consisting of little more than acoustic guitars and voices, with occasional washes of melodica, xylophone or keyboards adding color and texture, the mood of this eight-track, 10-inch EP is considerably quieter and more wistful than we’re used to from this lot. (Even though Heavenly in particular explored some fairly dark emotional terrain, they always sounded sunny and adorable while doing so.) In even more of a departure, vocally, this is as much Rob’s record as it is Amelia’s, with the lead vocal duties approximately evenly split. This isn’t a bad thing: Pursey’s wavering baritone is about at the midpoint between Stephin Merritt and Beat Happening‘s Calvin Johnson, which gives a sort of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood vibe to tracks like the charming “Throw Another Love Song on the Fire” and the flirty duet “Like A Fool.” And the songwriting is first-rate throughout, showcasing the underrated ballad side of their abilities. But between the melancholy semi-folkie vibe and the shift in vocal duties, it may be important for longtime fans to recalibrate their expectations a bit. --Three Wheels Good
Tricky one I know. Does Amelia Fletcher needs any presentation? Of course not. She's one of the genuine indiepop heroines. Alongside Rob Pursey they have written some of the most unforgettable indiepop history of the past 30 years: Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research, Tender Trap... Now they have a new project together, born after the two left London to live in the countryside, with Tender Trap disbanded. Not a lot to do except start penning songs on acoustic guitar for their own entertainment until they were invited to play at the Arnolfini Art Gallery in Bristol, at an event celebrating another myth, Sarah Records. The set mixed Heavenly tunes with some new material, with such promising results the duo has transformed the homemade songs into a mini album, “Red Red Skies”. Eight back-to-basics magic songs. A moment of serene, stark, pensive and melancholic beauty, where melodies, intertwined vocals and words weigh a ton. So good to have Amelia & Rob back in our lives! --Bloodbuzzed
I can say with some confidence that this is the first time I have reviewed an album by someone who is an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to Competition and Consumer Economics. Well, one half of The Catenary Wires, Amelia Fletcher, is the person who changes that. Amelia has quite a CV. Not only has she, along with partner Rob Pursey, been delighting us with her music for almost thirty years in bands Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Tender Trap and Marine Research but she has also found time to complete a D.Phil, become a senior director and latterly a Professor. Oh yeah, she's also the mother to her two children (it's people like Amelia who make you wonder whether you could be doing more with your life... she is, if nothing else, quite inspirational). The Catenary Wires (wires that hang between pylons/overhanging electric train cables, just in case you, like I, didn't know) is Amelia and Rob's latest venture. Formed last year, from their home in Rolvenden, Kent as a two piece 'band', The Catenary Wires aim to impart their pop harmonies but "gentler, more emotive and melancholy" than some of their previous work. 'Red Red Skies' is the duo's first eight track mini-album and follows the release of their first single earlier this year, 'Intravenous'. The beautifully crafted take on all consuming claustrophobic love pairs Amelia's and Rob's vocals expertly and is a fitting introduction to the album and the band. Amelia's high and angelic voice works throughout to counter Rob's deep baritone notes (the obvious comparison would be Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan). The album's main themes centre around love, longing and dysfunctional or failing relationships. Songs like 'When You Walk Away', 'The Records We Never Play' and next single 'Throw Another Love Song On The Fire' tell bitter-sweet tales of love, countering the fondness of a memory with the sadness of the eventual reality. Along with 'A Different Scene' and 'Like A Fool', these songs share a similar format where vocal duties are shared more or less evenly between the partners as the delicately balanced, sparse arrangements jangle along to complement the layered harmonies. Where the album works best, however, is where this is not the case. 'Intravenous' aside, the songs that work better are when Amelia is left to take centre stage alone to leave Rob (sorry Rob) providing instrumentation and backing vocal. As the album draws near to its close, 'Too Late, I Love You', with its slightly sinister guitar and Amelia's effective and emotive vocal and then finally and foremost, 'Things I Love', show the band in their best guise. Reminiscing about The Lemonheads, Swiss-German painters and Popcorn amongst other things, The Catenary Wires help build up a picture of a past that is sometimes difficult to bare but inevitably revisited: "Why do things I love remind me of someone I don't?" 'Red Red Skies' by The Catenary Wires is as gentle as intended, mixing harmony and melody through well told stories of heartbreak and heartache. It's unlikely to trouble the charts, but it's also unlikely not to be loved dearly by those who take the time to get to know it. --Contact Music
Two decades on from indie pop’s pinnacle, and the music press that initially reviled it have had a sudden change of heart. The likes of Sarah Records were routinely berated in weeklies like the NME, only to declare them the second greatest indie label of all time in 2015. Always ones for sticking to their words, then – but it indicates just how relevant its infallible, amateur pop sound remains, more so now than ever. Catenary Wires being a case in point: indie pop royalty Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey depart from their usual predilection for fuzzy 60s girlgroup hooks on mini-album ‘Red Red Skies’ and replace it with a more gentle, melancholy sound, though an innate knack for melody remains a constant theme, with Amelia’s saccharine voice being a familiar and prevailing aspect. ‘Red Red Skies’ will no doubt tug at the heart strings. --London In Stereo
Pete Frame would have a field day with the family tree of Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey, whose history contains the DNA of Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and Tender Trap, among others. Their latest project celebrates their relocation from London to the country, marked by a new name, the Catenary Wires, taken from a geometric term to describe the curves made by cables hanging under their own weight, as from pylons. It also seems appropriate that they formed this band as a result of a Sarah Records celebration, as there’s a trace of that label’s fuzzy indiepop here but the teenage concerns of their earlier bands are now more mature worries about relationships. ‘Like A Fool’ deals with the lies we tell each other; ‘Things I Love’ lists the art and artists that are tainted when love breaks down, from ‘“Repetition” by the Fall’ to Tim Burton and “the indie clubs of Islington”. ‘Intravenous’ is melodic indiepop but the thought that “nothing lasts forever" adds a hint of bittersweet. On ‘Throw Another Love Song On The Fire’, Rob is part Stephin Merritt, part Lee Hazlewood as he turns his back on romantic music (“those songs were never any good/ they’re better off as kindling wood”) while on the sweetly arranged ‘The Records We Never Play’, Amelia sounds wistful like Hope Sandoval. It’s a stripped down sound with just the two of them singing and playing, and the result is to lay emotions bare and vulnerable. Their songs are quite sad, quite delicate, and in the best traditions of Lee and Nancy, Jim and Hope, Serge and Brigitte, they’re most convincingly heartworn. --Sounds XP
Sometimes heartbreak, disappointments and crumbling relationships can sound beautiful. Well, maybe not if you are one on the participants. But if you aren't, it can be grist for a beautiful set of music, as it is for Red Red Skies, the new album from The Catenary Wires. The band consists of duo Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey, partners off the stage as well, who have worked together for decades in Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and Tender Trap. Playing all of the instruments themselves and shedding the jangling electric guitars and pace of some of their earlier work for gentler tunes infused with quiet emotion, and a bit of humor, they have crafted a debut album of intense, melancholy beauty with a few dashes of impish pop joy. Instrumentation includes guitars, keys, and bells, but the stars of the show are the vocals -- Amelia's fragile but clear highs and Rob's best Calvin Johnson croon. Their differences blend well and give depth to the quality of their songwriting, as ably demonstrated on album opener "Intravenous" (stream below). Other standout tracks include "When You Walk Away" and "Throw Another Love Song On The Fire" (see video version below). The latter focuses on heartbreak, but in a way that pokes fun at songs about heartbreak. I don't know whether that makes it a happy song or a sad song. Maybe it is a happy sad song, but it is in any case a very good song and gives Rob a nice showcase for his vocals. There is a lot to like in this mini album, and there is a lot of promise in the comfortable intensity of Amelia and Rob as a performing partnership. I hope that this is just the beginning for The Catenary Wires. Red Red Skies is out this week on Elefant Records in Europe and Matinée Recordings in North America. --When You Motor Away
Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey are indiepop icons who have been at the heart of much-loved groups such as Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research, and Tender Trap. Their latest musical venture is The Catenary Wires. Where previous bands have been decidedly poppy and brash, The Catenary Wires make melancholic folk, but still with their knack for melodies. Their debut, Red Red Skies, will be out June 1 via Matinée/Elefant. --Brooklyn Vegan
During indie pop's initial flowering the mainstream press didn't give the scene much attention. 'Under-achievers' they sneered, leaving the likes of Sarah Records to do their own thing. Yet here we are, two decades on, and the indie pop sound looms larger than ever with countless new groups picking up the torch. Amelia Fletcher (OBE, no less) is one of the scene's staple figures, having worked with Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, The Tender Trap and more. Pairing up with Rob Pursey, the pair form promising new duo The Catenary Wires. Upcoming mini-album 'Red Red Skies' is the duo's first document, a sweet, innocent return featuring some pared down melodic hymnals. Lead single 'Intravenous' is a beautiful introduction. Seemingly written during the winter, there's a warm, comforting feel to the simple arrangement. The lyrics deal with the co-dependency of love, yet amidst the blissful romance there's something a little suffocating.
Ok, I have to admit it…..Amelia Fletcher could sing the phone book (if there still were phone books) and I’d wanna listen….hell, I’d probably love it. Through all of her bands: Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research, Tender Trap and maybe others that I’m missing, her songs and singing have continually tickled my fancy throughout the years. This is her latest project, an acoustic duo that she does with her partner Rob Pursey (who was in all, or at least most, of the previously mentioned bands) and what can I say, I love it. It’s mostly acoustic guitars but added in some light percussion and an occasional gentle keyboard and light electric guitar. Apparently they left London a few years ago and ended up in the country away from everything…but they still wanted to make music and voila! The Catenary Wires were born. Amelia sings lead on most songs with Rob adding in backing vocals (in a real low register, like a Brit version of Calvin Johnson or Stephin Merrit or something) and the songs are terrific. The record opens with the lovely single “Intravenous” and then goes into the equally inspiring “When You Walk Away.” A little later Rob sings lead on “Throw Another Love Song on the For” then Amelia picks up the ball and runs with it on the sublime, “Too Late I Love You.” A few of my favorites are the excellent “Like a Fool” and the gorgeous duet “The Records We Never Play” and the dreamy ‘Things I Love.” I love it when my favorite musicians form new bands that are as good as the stuff I previously loved. That’s this. --Dagger
You couldn't exactly call The Catenary Wires a wild deviation from what Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey (both members of fuzz-pop band Talulah Gosh and Tender Trap amongst others) have done in the past, but on their first album under this guise, there's almost a sense that the pair have a point to prove. Take away the style and is there still enough substance to make a decent record? 'Red Red Skies' could still be called indiepop, but it's more stripped down than some past work, relying more heavily on acoustic guitar and vocals without ever falling into the whole generic singer-songwriter category. When it comes down to it, 'Red Red Skies' in a collection of love songs (often of the very lovelorn variety, with tracks like 'A Different Scene' wondering "are you happy, are you crying still? I know I'm not supposed to care..."). Other titles? 'Like A Fool', 'Too Late, I Love You', Things I Love'... they're not trying to hide anything. It's difficult to tell whether the almost countryish 'Throw Another Love Song On The Fire' is knowing self depreciation; an admittance that, really, there's one main theme here, or whether it's just another sad paean to a failed/failing relationship ("thanks for making me so unhappy"). It's not easy to find a bad song amongst the lot, but if you had to pick some form of criticism, it would possibly be that somewhere along the line a change of pace, possibly even topic, wouldn't do any harm. That said, 'Red Red Skies' doesn't outstay its welcome, so perhaps any changes could wait for/if The Catenary Wires decide to make a follow-up. With the likes of 'Too Late, I Love You', the swoonsome 'Intravenous' or standout 'When You Walk Away', it's likely that this is an album that will stay in the mind for more than just a few plays, and, should you be in a certain state of mind right now, you might just find yourself identifying with this collection and holding it close to your heart for some time.
--The Sound of Confusion
There’s two things at work here: one, Matinée Recordings is back at it this year and two, The Catenary Wires are made up of members of Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Tender Trap, etc. With the first, I’m extremely happy, as the label is one of my favorite purveyors of divine indie pop. As to the second, I think the aforementioned bands make this track alone worthy of your time. I couldn’t think of a better way to begin my week than to listen to a track where the male and female vocals fit so well that your can’t help but feel yourself swoon. They’ll be releasing their ‘Red Red Skies’ CD via the label in June. --Austin Town Hall
Benché The Catenary Wires sia una denominazione inedita, basta poco per scoprire che il duo da essa identificato unisce due artisti che calcano le scene indie-pop da almeno un paio di decenni: ne sono artefici Amelia Fletcher e Rob Pursey (già impegnati in Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research, Tender Trap e altre band ancora), che alla loro nuova creatura destinano la loro inesauribile vena pop. Gli otto brani del loro primo mini-album “Red Red Skies” presentano l’attitudine melodica dei due artisti inglesi nella sua essenza più autentica e gentile, spogliata dall’enfasi elettrica di molte delle loro precedenti esperienze, in favore di una lieve malinconia a prevalenza acustica che rende la loro rinnovata proposta, se possibile, ancor più genuinamente indie-pop. Senz’altro tipicamente pop è il tema portante della sequenza di canzoni da tre minuti che forma l’Ep, tutto incentrato su relazioni sentimentali agrodolci, raccontate con delicata spontaneità e con la sottile (auto-)ironia della maturità. Come altro definire, ad esempio, un titolo come “Throw Another Love Song On The Fire”? A questo brano di eleganza deliziosamente retrò, nel quale Pursey si lascia andare a un crooning davvero sorprendente, si aggiunge nel corso del lavoro una galleria di pregevoli intrecci vocali su semplici armonie acustiche che evocano sensazioni bucoliche e primaverili, cantando la natura endemica e un po’ folle del sentimento (l’iniziale “Intravenous”, “Like A Fool”) e l’ampio catalogo di sottintesi e rimpianti degno di ogni disco indie-pop che si rispetti (“The Records We Never Play”, “Too Late, I Love You”). Quello di “Red Red Skies” è appunto indie-pop tanto essenziale quanto declinato all’ennesima potenza, che perpetua un linguaggio musicale senza tempo né età, perché strettamente legato a passioni che non potranno passare mai di moda, come non si estingue, bensì si affina nel tempo, la naturale capacità di scrivere canzoni dei due artisti che oggi si può essere ben felici di aver ritrovato insieme sotto la nuova sigla The Catenary Wires. --Music Won't Save You