Fantasy Rainbow is a man. Just one man, on his own. He’s made a record, called No Hope. Not Ever and it will be released on the lovely Tiny Lights Recordings label. You should probably go listen to No Hope. Not Ever, for reasons which will soon become apparent.
Shit! That’s usually the word you use when you realise that the man behind Fantasy Rainbow, Oliver Catt, is eighteen. Of course, age shouldn’t be, and isn’t relevant, but when I think back to when I was eighteen… well, it only serves to further compound my appreciation for this record. Seriously, I was probably still listening to Limp Bizkit then*.
This is lo-fi pop at its very best, indeed comparisons to Deerhunter sit rather comfortably; this is uplifting stuff, crammed full of ideas. When I say uplifting, I mean in the inspiring sense. Musically it isn’t entirely that, it’s curiously dark. The first track, ‘It’s Only the Sealife’ plays out a rather odd juxtaposition, in that the guitar and vocals don’t seem to match each other, at least in a conventional sense. The guitar sound is somewhat buoyant and optimistic, almost something from an Andrew Bird album (almost…), whilst the vocals plod along unnervingly, rarely venturing outside of the same tone throughout. Yet, it works, very well. ‘It’s Only the Sealife’ merges seamlessly into ‘Song for Nobody’, and we’re treated with more of the same. The standout track on No Hope… though is the title track; the final track. The guitar sound remains fairly constant throughout the EP, but Catt’s vocals have much more youthful dynamism about them in this final song. What is clear is that Catt isn’t comfortable with resting on his laurels. He enjoys ‘messing around’, perhaps seeing what he can get away with. Indeed as the intensity builds on the final track I’d like to think that this was completely unplanned and more a case of “whatever, let’s go for it”. It’s highly likely that I’m wrong. But No Hope… has that feel to it.
It must be said though; this isn’t an EP that immediately hits. It was only after the third or fourth listen that I really started to, well, listen. I mean, properly listen. Perseverance is key. It may, at times, sounds repetitive and perhaps slightly off-kilter, but this only serves to make No Hope. Not Ever that little bit more interesting. Some would say that the best music needs to be properly scrutinised before you can ever really get it, after No Hope. Not Ever, I would be inclined to agree.
*I wasn’t. I was eighteen in 2005. That is two years after ‘Results May Vary’.Exactly.
No Hope. Not Ever is released on 19/3/2012 on Tiny Lights Recordings.