England Made Me CDEP
Format*
CDEP  $5.00
Digital download  $4.00

Lovejoy - England Made Me CDEP

matinée 062   /   July 2006
 #lovejoy
  1. Brightness Falls
  2. Are You Analogue Or Digital?
  3. In The Rain
  4. Made In England

Impressive follow-up to last year’s ‘Everybody Hates Lovejoy’ album featuring four great new songs. Lead track ‘Brightness Falls’ is perhaps the finest Lovejoy song to date, mixing keyboards and jangling guitars in a twinkling pop hit with ace vocals from Lovejoy supremo Richard Preece. If we lived in a just universe this would be blasting from car stereos all summer long in place of the latest inane hip hop flavor-of-the-week. ‘Are You Analogue or Digital?’ sports a bit of the pesky electronica that first showed its face on the popular ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ set and also rather nicely recalls the sparkling pop of The Human League, while ‘In the Rain’ is a lusciously paced and mesmerizing cover of the mid-80s indie hit from The June Brides. ‘Made in England’ closes the EP in top form, layering guitars, strings and percussion alongside a rhythmic vocal track with angelic backing—a return of sorts to the chiming orchestral pop of Lovejoy’s debut album ‘Songs In The Key of Lovejoy.‘ Hurrah! Limited to 1000 copies in custom minijacket sleeve.

 
reviews
Lovejoy's England Made Me EP kicks off with the cheeriest songs the group has ever recorded. Known for being unswervingly pessimistic to the point of being near-suicidal, on ‘Brightness Falls’ singer Richard Preece sounds almost happy while the music tinkles and hums melodically around him. It's a pleasant change of pace for the group and bodes well for further releases. As for the rest of the EP, the electro-pop cover of the June Brides’ indie classic ‘In the Rain’ is nice, the novelty ‘Are You Analogue or Digital’ is a cure throwaway and ‘Made in England’ is a New Order-influenced electronic ballad that revisits the political aspect of Preece’s writing. Perhaps Lovejoy is better taken in small does but this is definitely one of their finest releases.   --All Music Guide
Lovejoy has a winning track record of smart, melancholy pop articulating feelings and ideas. With this electronic-flavored, hopeful-in-nature EP they do nothing to tarnish that. It starts with the brilliant mood piece/love letter "Brightness Falls." Richard Preece's understated delivery, an open-hearted whisper, conveys hope ("you are my savior in a taxi / my vision of reality," he begins) while beats propel a romantic tone. That song alone is an instant classic, but there's more: a Pet Shop Boys-ish (mostly) instrumental, an outstanding cover of the June Brides' "In the Rain", and another dreamy pop ballad, the title track, that's just as on-the-mark and delicately transporting as the first track. It has a great melody, a historical/cultural scope that matches the expansive personal one, and again a hazy, beautiful atmosphere.   --Erasing Clouds
Coincidently coming after Larryhag wrote his piece on Lovejoy (who is one Richard Preece) did the said England Made Me EP drop through the letterbox onto my mat. After a few listens I can see why Larryhag is excited about his music. Brightness Falls is the lead track and it will more than invoke comparisons with the Lightning Seeds Pure which was Love Vigilantes by New Order anyway! Are You Analogue or Digital could be a 21st Century update for Kraftwerk's Spacelab on a night out with The Model. In The Rain is a cover of the June Brides track which first appeared on that band's Tribute album earlier this year and was far and away the best cover on the whole thing. Lastly Made In England is an epic, driving song that hints at sadness and loss amongst the pounding drum beat. The whole EP has the feel of the eighties accompanying it and it's hard to disagree with the consensus that this will appeal to fans from The Smiths to the Human League and The Trembling Blue Stars to The Lucksmiths. Smashing stuff!   --Indie-mp3.co.uk
Oh, I love that voice... It's warm and rough at the same time, and I can't tell if the man behind it (Richard Preece) is nice or really, really bad. The opening track "Brightness falls" has the most amazingly beautiful chorus that I've heard in a long time. It starts in my ears and ends in my heart. "Are you analogue or digital" goes electro-pop with a cheesy vocal sample, but the way it is done here is kind of OK, - fun, cool and nice ...sort of. On "In the rain" the band covers a mid 80's indie hit from The June Brides. It comes complete with "ba-bah's", handclaps and "space-shots". A nice one, but in my ears the least good song on the EP. Lovejoy's own songs are far better. "Made in England" may be the closest we come to a title track. Layers of sound, fat strings and pounding drums, - kind of like a hymn or a folk song. The vocals and the fantastic chorus makes this one an absolutely enjoyable experience.   --Eardrums
Not as you’d expect a CD courtesy of everyone’s favourite antique dealer Lovejoy rather a little gem in itself, the kind of hidden treasure that perhaps the man himself would love to get his hands on. Limited to 1000 copies and lovingly packaged here we find four great new tracks from Brightens Lovejoy, the press release would have you believe that the opener Brightness Falls is their finest song to date but I think you’ll find yourself hard pushed to choose between the four, each one could’ve quite happily been a single in its own right. Brightness Falls is the most straight forward, jangling guitars hospitably accept the cheap drum machine and keys while the kind of voice that Sarah records was started for compliments the three for what is the most obvious of the tracks available, maybe like an English and not quite as clever Lucksmiths, good all the same. Are you Analogue or Digital is a brilliant mostly instrumental track of synth perfection that an electro boy like me welcomes open armed, and a style carried on into perhaps my favourite of the four In the Rain (i'm led to believe this a cover a song by the June Brides), more electro than Brightness Falls, stuttering 80’s drums that the Human League would quite happily trade yet covered in a mix of jangling guitars and again some really lovely synth sounds (occasionally mistakable for add n to x’s Poker Roll, a jangle pop remix maybe?) coupled with ever classic ba-ba-ba lines. And finally six minutes of strings and great choruses in England Made Me making me want to immediately go and get everything else they’ve ever released. For now make sure you get one of the 999 others out there.   --I'd Rather Be Fat Than Be Confused
Richard Preece is back to grace us with three new Lovejoy tracks and a cover of the June Brides' 'In the Rain' (previously released on the 'Still Unravished: A Tribute to the June Brides'). The four songs cover the Lovejoy spectrum quite well, making each song stand out on its on. 'Brightness Falls' is perhaps the most "traditional" Lovejoy track on the EP. The smooth, melancholy vocals that carry an almost sedative like quality. Subtle, chimey guitars and strings. And an easy pace that lets the song glide by effortlessly. 'Are You Analogue or Digital?' has Lovejoy exploring the electronic side of things in an 80's pop style - the Pet Shop Boys might be the most obvious comparison, although Kraftwerk works as well. Synth tones, thin drum machine beats, and electro-bass abound in this mostly instrumental track. Not exactly my cup of tea, but again Lovejoy has this ability to create a soothing mood that inspires me to just sit back and relax. Not one afraid to show his influences, Preece gives us another fine cover song, this time a selection from the June Brides. This song manages to perfectly merge the Lovejoy guitar pop sound with the electronic elements Preece has played with in the past. The addition of female backing vocals really gives this song a touch of beauty that I would love to hear more of on future Lovejoy albums. And then there is 'Made in England'. According to Preece this song was to be Lovejoy's 'Bitter Sweet Symphony', but, however recording costs forced him to rein things in a bit. Still, this song does have an "epic" feeling to it and on some days has been my favorite song on the EP. Echoing electronic guitar, synth drones, a big, almost plodding drum beat, and more female vocals that are reminiscent of Trembling Blue Stars. The song has a dream-pop quality to it that has been hinted at before, but never quite presented as much as on this song. And again, Preece manages to effortlessly bring in these elements. With each release, Richard Preece has managed to both retain the Lovejoy sound and explore new styles. These four songs may demonstrate that more than any of the previous albums and give hints at what we might expect next from the world of Lovejoy. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long...   --Pennyblack Magazine
Let's get this straight: Keyboards and drum machines aren't the future. Since the early days of Kraftwerk and Brian Eno, they're not the exclusive tools of visionary futurists, enigmatic ambient wizards and art-school experimentalists. They're just another bit of instrumentation that's there for artists to use when necessary -- not a means to an end, a genre of their own or an insular world removed from pop and rock. While we're buried under an avalanche of electro-goofs trying to wring out some of the long-gone novelty of electronic instruments, Lovejoy proves that there's still a lot of room for synthesizers and pop-heads to get along. Tapping into the same energy as Republic-era New Order or White Town, England Made Me plugs in the keyboards and drum machines to back up light, melancholic pop that's straight out of the bedroom. "Brightness Falls" opens the album with synth-pop as only a British audiophile could whip up, as a guitar hook seemingly lifted out of Bernard Sumner's bag of tricks dexterously unwinds over ticking drum programming and swooshes of synth melodies that leans heavily on New Order tunes such as "Spooky" and "Regret" without having to rehash either. "In the Rain" tones down the sparkling melodies for a dose of sleepy, melancholic melodies as guitars step back in the mix to accent the song's keyboards. "Made in England" and "Are You Analogue or Digital?" mince bedroom-pop guitar work and Richard Preece's exquisitely restrained delivery with touches of keys and programmed drums that are so light you may miss them if you're not paying attention. If Preece -- Lovejoy's sole member -- is a little indebted to '90s synth-pop, he at least attacks his style with a working knowledge that makes England Made Me a stunning reminder that guitars and keyboards and drum machines have been playing nicely together for years. That ought to be more than enough reason for any synth-pop fanatic to track this EP down.   --Aversion.com