I have to admit that after having ordered the latest Papernut Cambridge 10 inch vinyl album “Mellotron Phase: Volume 1” I ddi not listen carefully at first. My only excuse is that I was still trying to wrap my head around their previous release, the 77 minute track “Everything You Say Is Lyrics, Anything You Touch Is Art.” In fact, I am still trying with that one!
In addition, the new album was presented not so much as a major release, but more as just a homage to the library genre.
Well, it is that. But I should have known better than to not give it a concentrated listen anyway. Papernut Cambridge do a lot of homage stuff – to glam, to cheesy pop, to the 1960s – but there is always a skewed perspective that makes things interesting.
And this release is no different. It is in fact quite excellent.
My very limited library music collection mostly extends to Electric Banana albums on Music De Wolfe, a few KPM originals from the 60s/70s, and maybe a handfull of scattered reissues. So I am probably missing upwards of 90% of the library references here.
Nevertheless, what I hear is music that samples genres such as exploito-psychedelia, instrumental pepperisms, slightly funky rhythms, and more progressive sounds in typical late 60s to early 70s library music fashion.
However, throughout the whole thing, the musical ideas are more developed than the sound sketches I often find on library albums. There is also a consequent lyrical tone that makes this stand on its own. And while the Mellotron is prominently featured, there’s quite a lot going on with other instruments as well.
So while you go into this expecting instrumental novelties amounting to little more than a Mellotron demo album, you come out of it with a genuine experience.
Unfortunately, the original vinyl copies are already sold out, but you should still get the repress or the digital version. And while you are at the Papernut Cambridge Bandcamp site, take a look at their label, Gare Du Nord Records. It is all rather divergent, but consistently worthwhile and frequently brilliant. Honestly!