Lovejoy - Songs In The Key Of Lovejoy

matcd008  /  September 2000
Lovejoy - Songs In The Key Of Lovejoy
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Lovejoy - Songs In The Key Of Lovejoy

matcd008  /  September 2000

Brighton, England's Lovejoy follow their excellent debut single A Taste of the High Life with a 10-song masterpiece called Songs In The Key of Lovejoy. Lead vocalist and guitarist Richard Preece (ex-Spinning Wheels; current collaborator in Beaumont and the Snowbound International Pop Club) delivers masterful vocals not unlike a more indiepop Adorable. Contributing to the new expanded lineup is Ally Board on angelic female vocals, Blueboy/Beaumont mainmen Keith Girdler and Paul Stewart on backing vocals and guitar, and Rich Haines on production wizardry. With brilliant use of keyboards, percussion, and vocal harmonies, the band's debut long-player is an essential soundtrack for the now generation and perfect for fans of Biff Bang Pow!, House of Love, the Wake, Razorcuts or Blueboy.

  1. A Taste Of The High Life
  2. Penelope London
  3. Thank Your Lucky Stars
  4. Radio
  5. Sunset Sky
  6. Live Alone Forever
  7. Fantasy Island
  8. The Girl From HQ
  9. Butter Wouldn't Melt
  10. Tomorrow's World


Though the songs are written by Dick Preece, who is Lovejoy, the resemblance to Blueboy is uncanny. That shouldn't be surprising, though, seeing as Keith and Paul are in the band. I can definitely hear Paul's classical guitar here and there, and "Thank Your Lucky Stars" really reminds me of "Jennifer Yeah!". But this also has hints of other things, like the Pet Shop Boys and campy 60's British movies. Basically, this is a cd that could only come from England; the only thing in America that could compare is Aberdeen or the Shoestrings. Dick sings most of the songs, but many have female backing vocals, as well. One of the best electro-pop cds of the year!   --IndiePages
Smacking of Englishness, Lovejoy produce a pretty sound indeed. Gentle acoustic guitars, subdued drumming, and loads of strings provide backing to a voice that retains an English accent that parallels Jarvis Cocker of Pulp and Morrissey. Like a louder Belle and Sebastian or Divine Comedy, Lovejoy write songs about domestic relationships that seem slightly more haughty than universal in nature. If you can get past the slight pomp running through the record, you'll find a very pleasant pop record, especially if you're a fan of mid-90's Britpop.   --Shredding Paper
Hang on though - Keith and Paul are also involved with Lovejoy, labelmates to such supernovae as Sportique and Harper Lee. And Lovejoy's album is much more in the Blueboy template, although the vocals from Dick Preece - which recall the half-punky, half-wimpy mould of Dan Treacy - work best on "Thank Your Lucky Stars" and "Butter Wouldn't Melt", where the guitars are turned up and the immaculate pop sensibilities are allowed to subside briefly. Mind you, in the crystal sheen of "Live Alone Forever" and the majestic "Radio" Lovejoy have two soundscapes that would have graced any Blueboy album.   --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
Someone should start a petition to the governments of the world: true indie pop labels, those with the integrity of Bus Stop, Sarah, Subway, have become an endangered species and are in dire need of saving. Thankfully, labels like Matinée Recordings have been doing their part to prevent the total dissolution of guitar pop by promoting jangly guitars over a stifling barrage of synths, passion over production quality, and all the things that made pop music from the late '80s so damn exciting (they even offer to send badges with all orders), Matinée has been able to recapture the unadulterated shambling sublimity of that time. Three of the label's newest CD releases are proof that the spirit of '86 still has a few breaths of life left, that all hope is not dead, that music can still mean something. Truth be told, it took a few listens before I really started enjoying Lovejoy's Songs in the Key of Lovejoy. I was first disappointed because many of the songs tend towards redundancy, with parts sprawling on and on with almost imperceptible variation. But after a while, I began to concentrate on deciphering the lyrics, which are masterfully crafted and witty ("Ambition is the enemy of love" and "You're not getting any younger; it's gotten hard to stay thin"). "Good God that's great," I thought, and my opinion began to skyrocket accordingly. It should be noted that Lovejoy main man Richard Pierce is also a collaborator in Beaumont (nee Blueboy, Arabesque) and the members of that group (Paul Stewart & Keith Girdler) contributed musically to Songs in the Key. I cannot even begin to tell you how nicely Stewart's guitar embellishments work on this record. In fact, along with the lyrics, they canceled out the mild reservations I initially had about the record-the guitar parts. With their apparent effortlessness and exotic richness, they help push the record from being so-so to being absolutely gorgeous and utterly timeless.   --Milk Magazine
Brighton's answer to the Orchids.   --Careless Talk Costs Lives
This is a band comprised of Keith and Paul (formerly of Blueboy and currently of Beaumont) and led by the mysterious Dick and one listen and you'll be brought back to the glory days (daze?) of Sarah Records of Bristol, England in the late 80s/early 90s. The guitars strum and do a lil' jingle jangle, the vocals are crooned and not sung and it'll just sound like the perfect make out record to anyone into that sort of thing. Records like this used to come out of England every...well, a helluva lot more often than they do now. The caress of "Penelope London" should be all you need to hear.   --Dagger
Lovejoy's Songs In The Key of Lovejoy album sounds rather Blueboy-ish on the whole, which is no surprise as the band consists of members of Blueboy, as well as Richard Preece (ex-Spinning Wheels, currently in Beaumont and Snowbound International Pop Club). Radio reminds me of a cross between Blueboy and Brighter. Not everything here is Blueboy-ish though, for example Thank Your Lucky Stars, which is noisier than everything else here but is still a pop song, and Sunset Sky which is an electronic instrumental. Fans of early 90s indiepop, particularly what Sarah were releasing, will love this album.   --Aquamarine
Lots of acoustic and classic guitars, keyboards and synthesizers that produce the same effects of a strings quartet, and beats that make us bop our heads to the rhythm...In addition to all of this, the beautiful nasal vocal of Dick Prece in harmony with Ally Board. But, Lovejoy is much more than this. The official members of Lovejoy are also the duo Keith and Paul, famous for their great work with Blueboy and Beaumont. That's important information for those will look for this CD. Does it sound like those cited bands? Yes. If it were not for the vocal, this album could be a new Blueboy release. "Penelope London" recalls early Blueboy. "Radio" is melancholic as the brighter ballads filled with feedback, "Thank Your Lucky Stars" and "Butter Wouldn't Melt" are more rock'n'roll and out of the album's context. The phrase that comes to our mind, when we listen to Lovejoy is the famous: "we oppose all rock'n'roll". At last "Songs in the key of Lovejoy" is sad, but not depressing. It's a perfect partner for that time, when you're alone in your bedroom thinking about life and in all the possibilities it can offer. Lovejoy leaves these possibilities loaded with hope and optimism.   --Modular
Is this some sort of inside joke? Choosing the name Lovejoy must be an intentional ploy to remind people of Blueboy. If not, then the music certainly is geared towards exactly the same demographic-the lovelorn, the love weary, the loveless etc. Also to allow for further ruminations of conspiratorial inclinations both of Blueboy/Beaumont appear on this record and what results is basically a candidate for the fourth Blueboy record to my ears, except for one bit, the third song, which sounds like it got lost while on the way to the new Pastels lp. Delicacy is the order of the day, beautiful acoustic guitars and pleasant fey vocals mixed with an even more delicate feminine voice create some of the prettiest dreamscapes since the wonderful Beaumont record. It is on the now mighty Matinée label and while I was driving behind a redneck in his Chevy pickup the other day, a pickup with, of course, on his rear window the usual cartoon sticker urinating on a Ford logo, and Lovejoy seemed the most inappropriate soundtrack to this observation, but it made me think that perhaps one day that same pickup will sport a sticker with said cartoon character wearing a Matinée t-shirt and urinating on a Shelflife logo? So I began wondering why there are not more record label rivalries? I would be more interested if labels had twee turf wars, so to speak. Shelflife might have believed they had this sort of musical topography of exotic Siesta-wannabe pop covered and here Matinée steps up and makes a stand demanding to be counted. Will there be a beatdown or will they decide there is enough room for the both of them? And what about March records? Oh wait they are just silly. I am not advocating any sort of Bad Boy/Death Row confrontation but maybe a few harsh words lobbed across each other's boughs just to spice up the normally mundane and pedestrian life of an indiepop fan every now and then would give sorts like me a cheap thrill.   --Twee Kitten
Semanas atrás caía en la cuenta de que pronto debía aparecer por aquí algún artículo sobre artistas que consideraba absolutamente ninguneados por la generalidad del público al que su trabajo iba destinado. Artistas que podríamos calificar de grises, sin que esto conlleve ningún tipo de connotación negativa hacia sus personas o trabajos. Hace ya tiempo que alabábamos el trabajo de esos seres grises capaces en su aparente medianía de la creación de bellas obras, que sin embargo quedan relegadas al disfrute de unos pocos con la paciencia o el gusto necesario para su aprovechamiento. Son muchos los grupos o cantautores que podrían encajar con la idea expuesta, aunque los que motivaron esta reflexión compartían un nexo común que radicaba en su pertenencia al sello estadounidense Matinée Recordings; los soberbios The Windmills originaron la idea, para pasar a los Visitors o Melodie Group, grupos que no estarían llamados a encabezar la portada del más modesto de los fanzines, pese a lucir en su haber canciones y trabajos redondos contra los que juega ese dominio del medio tiempo que parece quedase en tierra de nadie sin que suela llamar la atención más que algunos aficionados, esos que aprecian el buen trabajo de veteranos que dejaron atrás tiempos en los que la adrenalina fluía con mayor facilidad en sus cuerpos. Lovejoy es otro claro caso de artista Matinée llamado a formar parte del pelotón, trabajando ajeno al desaliento aún cuando los frutos son aparentemente escasos, porque escaso es el reconocimiento, por mucho que tenga algunos fieles fans, que Dick Preece y sus Lovejoy han conseguido a lo largo de un buen número de años que parecen haber tocado a su fin tras la triste desaparición durante el pasado año de Keith Girldler, pieza indispensable para comprender el trabajo del grupo durante todo este tiempo. Pero hasta este difícil momento el grupo ha alumbrado un total de tres Lp's y varios Ep's y apariciones en diversos proyectos que ante todo dejan claro un trabajo honesto a la búsqueda de canciones enhebradas con mimo buscando la coherencia del conjunto. Hoy dejamos constancia aquí del debut largo de la banda; Songs In The Key Of Lovejoy, un trabajo del que cuando uno prueba a buscar información encuentra las más dispares opiniones, quedando la impresión de que probablemente es su disco más discutido o menos apreciado. Pese a que la duda asalta y barajamos la posibilidad de centrarnos en c ualquiera de sus dos trabajos posteriores la verdad es que Songs In The Key Of Lovejoy marcó nuestro enamoramiento con el grupo de Brighton, y puesto que la cabezonería y cierta vehemencia siempre es preferible a la renegación, seguimos fieles a la idea de entrar en el universo de Lovejoy a través de este primer Lp. Puede que el paso del tiempo facilite una perspectiva de las cosas que lleve a situarlas en su justa ubicación, pero a finales de la década de los 90's y comienzos del nuevo siglo muchos nos encontrábamos musicalmente perdidos. El tiempo en el que los fanzines campaban a sus anchas ofreciendo información del más ignoto grupo había finalizado, e Inet todavía no había alcanzado la popularización actual, así que aunque muchos sellos había desechado sus tradicionales newsletters en favor del correo electrónico, los aficionados nos encontrábamos en un momento en el que muchas veces por propia torpeza frente a las nuevas tecnologías no podíamos acceder a la cantidad de música de antaño, lo cual muchas veces nos dejaba huérfanos de grupos a los que seguir, perdiendo alguno incluso la afición quedándose irremediablemente anclado en el pasado. Afortunadamente algún nuevo sello mantenía nuestras esperanzas intactas, y de todos ellos Matinée Recordings destacaba por encima de todos, rescatando algunas glorias perdidas de los 80's y dando la primera oportunidad a nuevos e interesantes grupos. Así es como llegamos a dos interesantes 7"s de Lovejoy que precederían la publicación de Songs In The Key Of Lovejoy. A priori la carta de presentación del grupo británico no podía ser mejor, un ex-Spinning Whells (Dick Preece) formando grupo con Keith & Paul, en ese momento en Beaumont pero responsables de los discos de una banda mítica como fue Blueboy (su Lp Unisex marcó un antes y un después para muchos y es uno de los mejores discos publicados por la extinta Sarah Records) y haciéndose acompañar a los coros por la dulce voz de Ally Board. Songs In The Key Of Lovejoy, con independencia de la valoración final a posteriori que cada uno quiera realizar, ofreció en su momento aquello que algunos esperábamos con cierta ansia; un disco de Pop, por momentos de factura clásica, que rescataba nuestra esperanza por esas canciones provistas de preciosos arreglos y perfectas melodías de suave cadencia…..lo cual significaba mirar sin disimulo el legado Blueboy, pero en tiempos musicalmente difíciles poco importaba que quien acudiera a nuestro rescate adoptara una vestimenta ajena, ya habría tiempo de depurar estilos una vez a salvo del hundimiento. Así los casi seis minutos ya conocidos de A Taste Of The High Life nos supieron a gloria, cierto que la voz de Dick Preece no era un dechado de dulzura (como más tarde pudimos comprobar en su única visita a nuestro país), pero Ally Board suplía con sus coros las carencias que el instrumento de Dick mostraba. El tema, gracias a su pausado tránsito con la guitarra acústica como protagonista, era un perfecto y sosegado inicio para el disco, dando paso a Penelope London que rápidamente se convierte en pieza nostálgica favorita del disco con sus pasajes de guitarra directamente extraídos de algunos de los primeros 7"s de Blueboy, y lo que parece una adorable mandolina que nos hace escuchar el tema de manera compulsiva, una y otra vez marcando uno de los pasajes álgidos del disco, sencillamente perfecto. Pero antes de continuar habría que dejar bien claro que no estamos ante un nuevo disco de Blueboy, todas las canciones de Lovejoy están compuestas por Dick Preece que es el máximo responsable del grupo, así también encontraremos temas que en absoluto están emparentados con el recordado grupo de Sarah Records; Thank Your Lucky Stars se mueve entre el ruido, con guitarras distorsionadas, sin dejar de ser Pop, mientras que Sunset Sky muestra el lado más instrumental y electrónico del sonido del grupo. Radio devuelve las cosas a su sitio, melancolía vuelve a adueñarse del disco para ya nunca abandonarnos, Live Alone Forever nos trae a un Dick tímido que dulcifica lo necesario su voz en el momento de dar paso casi al final a Ally, firmando ella el pasaje más inspirado de esta composición. A estas alturas la chica del grupo ya se nos ha hecho imprescindible, Fantasy Island vuelve a necesitarla para dar un color necesario a la música del grupo. El album se cerrará con Butter Wouldn't Melt y Tomorrow's World, que mantienen la linea de todo el Lp, así como la instrumental The Girl From Headquarters y una pequeña pieza oculta a final del disco que poco aporta. Ahora mismo la carrera de Lovejoy se encuentra en una parada de la que muy probablemente nunca saldrá, el propio Dick Preece confiesa en la web del grupo que le resulta muy difícil concebir Lovejoy sin la existencia del desaparecido Keith Girdler. De manera que puede que todavía vea la luz alguna nueva referencia del grupo con canciones ya grabadas, pero después el futuro es incierto. La realidad es que pocos derramarán una lágrima por su desaparición, pero este Lp, así como el resto de sus trabajos, bien merecen una oportunidad.   --360º de Separación
Outra grata surpresa é este Songs In The Key Of... do Lovejoy projeto do cantor e guitarrista Richard Preece (ex- Spinning Wheels e atual colaborador do Beaumont). Fazendo um adorável e cativante indie pop que pode ser descrito como uma mistura de Biff Bang Pow!, House of Love, Field ice, Trembling Blue Stars e é claro Blueboy, já que Keith Girdler e Paul Stwart (ex-Blueboy e atuais Beaumont), dão sua contribuição fazendo backing vocals e tocando guitarra respectivamente. O Lovejoy fez sua aparição em janeiro de 2000, com o single "A Taste of the High Life" (somente disponível no formato 7 polegadas), capitaneado pela lindíssima faixa título que invariavelmente vai nos trazer a mente as melhores coisas já editadas pela cultuada gravadora Sarah Records, abrilhantada ainda mais pelo inspirado dueto entre Richard Preece e Keith Girdler, sem nos esquecermos daqueles lindos e tristonhos acordes de guitarras. Completam este single as inéditas "Merry Go Round" e "Winter L.D.". Em agosto último, ficava pronto o tão aguardado debut álbum Songs In The Key Of... que além da já citada "A Taste of the High Life" vem repleto de ótimas canções pop onde vale destacar "Thank Your Lucky Stars" e sua guitarra mais pesadinha, a suavidade de "Radio" talvez a porção mais Field Mice do álbum e a maravilhosa "Live Alone Forever" mais uma vez contando com os sublimes vocais de Keith e guitarras esplendorosas, apesar de toda a qualidade das demais esta é minha preferida. Prometem para novembro o EP "A Christmas Wish" com certeza mais coisas boas pela frente. Antes que me esqueça o Lovejoy edita seus trabalhos pelo simpático selo inglês Matinée Records e melhor ainda, é distribuído na América pela Twee Kitten o que torna mais fácil pra quem desejar conhecer o ótimo trabalho de Richard Preece e seu Lovejoy. A banda lançou ainda este ano outro cd intitulado " Who Wants To Be a Millionaire", mas isso é assunto para outro post!   --Imaginary Friends