Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: Writing the Wrongs by Poundstore Riot

I'll admit that I didn't have high hopes for Poundstore Riot, any more than I would for the contents of an actual pound store. Call it snobbery, but that's not a band name that makes me keen to find out more.

But then I read the duo's (presumably made-up, although who knows?) back story, and I became a lot more interested. The conceit, roughly summed up, is thus: four-track enthusiasts Ash Cooke and Stu Kidd were arrested for inciting a riot at a pound shop, and they were encouraged to embrace their DIY musical talents and record Writing the Wrongs as part of their rehabilitation.

Yes, it sounds like a wobbly premise for a GLC-style comedy album, but that's not what this is at all - it's actually a wonderful love letter to the art of home recording.

History of Home-Fi (above) is a spoken word track that doubles as a handy blurb for what this album is all about; Ash (or possibly Stu, but I think it's Ash) lists the recording devices and music-making software that he has used over the years, thereby giving us listeners a pretty good idea of just how deep his love for this stuff is. If you've ever made music at home - using old T-shirts as drum dampeners and playing the same part a million times because you keep making mistakes and your primitive tape machine doesn't do punch-ins - you really ought to hear this.

Note also that the 'poundstore riot' thing isn't just some silly random idea that they decided to run with; Ash and Stu were (supposedly) rioting because they couldn't buy any blank CDs for their latest songs. The whole (again, probably fictional) incident is detailed in the band's theme song:

Oh, and just in case I've given you the impression that this is a spoken-word, it isn't. There are plenty of actual songs, too - my personal favourite is Green, which boasts a lovely string part that wouldn't sound out of place on a Tindersticks record:

I love that track; I want to spend all of my rainy Sundays with it.

So, to sum up: Poundstore Riot are brill, don't be put off by the name, this album is perfect for music-makers who can't afford proper studio time. If that sounds like you, I'd heartily recommend a listen.

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