Wednesday 2 November 2016


Reed & Caroline are a new signing to Vince Clarke's Very Records and they have just released their debut album, Buchla And Singing. As befits a release on Vince's own label, the music on the album is made on a Buchla modular synth alone. The Buchla was one of the first modular synths, with Don Buchla beating the perhaps more celebrated Robert Moog to the punch by a few years back in the 1960's. Sadly, Don Buchla recently passed away, but his wonderful, hugely influential invention lives on in this album and it's a fine tribute to him. Reed Hays' mastery of the Buchla is hugely impressive and it even outdoes his own label boss. When asked about the Buchla system, Vince said "I had one once but I sold it. It's way too difficult to use."  Now, if Vince can't master it, it must be tough.

Anyway, to the music. As I mentioned above, Reed Hays is in charge of the Buchla and the vocals are provided by Caroline Schultz, with both working perfectly together. The album opener Singularity (We Bond) shows off the pair's skills perfectly - it's as glorious a slice of synthpop as you'll hear in a long time. Caroline's vocal style brings to mind the likes of Jen Wood's vocals on The Postal Service's Nothing Better and they really are central to the album's success.

REED & CAROLINE - Singularity (We Bond) [Official Video] from VeryRecords on Vimeo.

Electrons is another standout track, its futurist lyrics and crisp electropop having a distinct air of, for example, Kraftwerk's Radioactivity album albeit with a far glossier pop sheen. The track also features in remixed form as a bonus on the cd with Vince Clarke offering his own take on the song. It's a sparser affair, slightly reminiscent of his superb Behind The Wheel remix for the last Depeche Mode project and it's well worth checking out. 

There are more experimental moments as you might expect given the machine that is producing the music here. Oh My Dog and Nightmarf for example, show off the Buchla's collection of impressive noises to impressive effect. Henry The Worm perhaps pushes the experimentation too far, with its twee lyrics not really hitting the spot, but that aside, there aren't really any missteps here.

The fact that Reed & Caroline have managed to make such an interesting and enjoyable album using only an ancient and difficult to master modular synth system says much about their ability. Whilst the album title is literally correct, neither the Buchla nor the singing overshadow each other. Both come together in perfect harmony, producing excellent results.

Reed & Caroline's Buchla and Singing is available now on cd and download from Very Records and through all the usual digital music purveyors.

Very Records Shop -

Tuesday 1 November 2016


Teen Canteen's debut album Say It All With A Kiss is the third release on Glasgow's Last Night From Glasgow label and it's an album that simply doesn't fail to improve your day and brighten your mood every time you play it. The band marry exquisite harmonies with a mix of pure pop and post punk and, in doing so, they've produced one of this year's most exciting debuts.

The song above, How We Met (Cherry Pie), is as fine as example of Teen Canteen as you'll get. Irresistible melodies, a chorus that you can't resist and, simply put, a superb pop song. There are lots of clever touches and a lot of work has gone into creating the wall of sound like feel that surrounds the track and that's a wonderful thing. Sister is another track that pummels you into submission with its incredible catchiness and full on sound and Roses (My Love) follows suit, adding The Cairn String Quartet to give the song extra dynamics. Once you hear the closing "A-L-W-A-Y-S/It's always for you" refrain, you'll find it very difficult to stop yourself singing it for the rest of the day.

The band aren't all about full on powerful pop however. Friends starts off with a buzzing synthbass and sparse guitar, building up to a noisy, thrilling climax. The killer chorus us still there, but this time it's a song about breaking up rather than falling in love, darker but still wonderful. Candyfloss is another slower track, a show stopping end to the album that works perfectly.

The most refreshing thing about Teen Canteen is that there really isn't another band around that sound like this just now. There's a justified confidence to the songs, with a real feel of Phil Spector producing a post punk band throughout that you can only love. I haven't tired of this album since my copy arrived and I don't see myself ever tiring of it. Highly recommended in other words. Go and get it and put some Teen Canteen inspired sunshine into your life

Say It All With A Kiss is available now through Last Night From Glasgow and is available in all the usual digital places.

Teen Canteen Facebook -
Last Night From Glasgow -