Once upon a time I was a student in London and found myself at edgy hipster indie clubs playing jerky pop/artrock drinking vodka until 3am, my penchant for emo dwindled in the face of something much cooler and those years of musical exploration have remained with me as an integral part of my musical landscape.
One song that seemed to sum up the time and place for me was Over and Over Again (Lost and Found) by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
For me it was the perfect combination of upbeat and angular and was completed by one of the most distinctive lead vocalists I'd ever heard and is still an absolute pleasure to listen to six years later.
When the self titled album was released on cool indie label Wichita back in 2006 I rushed out and bought it along with several other albums, it didn't impress me anywhere near as much as I was hoping and it sort of got lost in the mix somewhere.
Fast forward to 2012, I'm sitting in one of Perth's trendy hipster coffee shops, Cabin Fever, and ahis familiar voice comes over the speakers. It's not often that I hear anything I remotely like on any stereo that isn't mine so I fumbled around trying to figure out how Shazaam works whilst trying to remain hip and not be so uncool as to ask the staff what they were listening to.
And so you have it, the story of how I came to listen to Mo Beauty by Alec Ounsworth.
His voice more than anything else is what appeals on these stripped back (at times comparitively almost acoustic) tracks, it's such an important part of the CYHSY sound that I initially couldn't understand why he felt the need to release the tracks under his own name. But repeat listening introduced me to what amounts to a more experimental edge to his sound, complete with brass and strings and not a single angular beat to be found.
The album was recorded in New Orleans, a city which clearly influenced the direction of the album and one of the obvious standout tracks from the album is "Holy, Holy, Holy Moses (Song For New Orleans)," not least because of the simple repetition of the lyric that you'll find yourself humming in the shower, in bed and on hold to Indian call centres. It's a lovely album, a joy to listen to, providing individual moments of beauty amongst the almost ethereal sound of the whole.
I've only had the pleasure of listening to it for the past week or so but it's barely off of the iPod, if only I had heard of it sooner.
Got an opinion? Feel free to share it in the blahs below. Anyone a fan already? I'd love to hear from you.
Listen to Alec Ounsworth on Spotify
Alec Ounsworth at Last.fm