The Lifted Brow is only five (soon to be six) issues old, but already it’s clear that mastermind Ronnie Scott has the kind of organisational acumen necessary to rule the world combined with a pretty incredible ability to source talent. TLB’s fourth issue was mind-boggling when it dropped with stories from Daniel Handler and Jeffrey Brown and accompanying CD featuring tracks from the Wrens, Dan Deacon and more, but that form’s continued, and the forthcoming sixth issue – which will be Atlas themed – could be the best yet.
Subtract the traditional flourishes from A Hawk and a Hacksaw and this is what you might get. You can imagine this being played in a cavernous & poorly lit beer hall in some downtrodden Sophia backstreet. Drunks and miners swarm around steel tables eating dark bread and drinking dark beer from giant steel mugs while BigStrongBrute hug the wall. Usually the old men playing pool stop to clap at the end of the songs but tonight their trumpet player is at home in bed so they’re not cutting through like usual, but that’s OK – they’re playing as much for themselves as anyone else here.
Like the South American nation that’s nearly a quarter national park, this song is warm and lush and wild. Pleasingly, it steps away (although not entirely) from the polished twee pop Clue To Kalo are best known for – this is gently distorted, earthy, tropical but, y’know, civilised – more high-class safari than heart of the jungle, perhaps because of the intense orchestration here, which floats from riffery to stomping chamber pop to airy ambience and back, a balloon tour of the musical rainforest.
You can pre-order The Lifted Brow 6 now - the book features writing from Darren Hanlon, Alasdair Maclean from The Clientele, Christos Tsiolkas, David Foster Wallace, Justin Rice from Bishop Allen, Josh Jones from Evangelicals and heaps more, while the CDs feature the likes of Ganache, tUnE-YaRdS, Bodies of Water, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and The Cannanes. Amazing.