Sunday, 1 January 2012

The Late Cord Review: From the Archives

The Late Cord reveal a world stranger and more beautiful than our own 

The Late Cord is the pairing of Texans John-Mark Lapham (The Earlies, These Were The Earlies) and Micah P. Hinson (The Baby And The Satellite, Micah P. Hinson And The Gospel Of Progress), two respected artists whose contrasting styles (Lapham's experimental pop rock, Hinson's raw and emotional folk) merge perfectly on their debut outing.

On the opening track 'Lila Blue', a warm, simple church organ lulls you into a meditative state, before golden waves of harmonicas, bells, electrical buzzing noises and the half - audible words of Hinson work their way to the fore. Hinson's voice is that of a choir-leader suffering severe sleep depravation, conflicting feelings of despair and resilience echo through the glorious din building beneath him. The crescendo falls away into almost sunny, gently plucked strings, fading into silence. The song is indicative of the whole spirit of '...Wheelhouse' - its contradictory nature of being drenched in desolation whilst maintaining an ethereal grace and just the slightest ray of optimism.

A myriad of instruments are used to create the tracks. Hinson wields amongst others; guitars, banjo, mandolin, upright piano - even a toy accordion is thrown into the mix. Lapham's duties include organs, synthesizers and programming. The mix of old and new tools carries on the theme of mixing two worlds to create something different and deeply personal.

The guest features remain faithful to the project's spirit; the tenderness of Semay Wu's cello on 'Chains / strings', Henry da Massa's harmonica on 'Hung On The Cemetery Gates' (the soundtrack to breaking down in the Nevada desert alone) and John-Mark's father, Robert H. Lapman's anguished vocals on the stunning 'My Most Meaningful Relationships Are With Dead People' where a poignant piano accompanies Lapman's ode to the hereafter. Wheelhouse never crumbles under the weight of the emotions and moods conjured up; it maintains through the darkest phases of this potential cacophony thanks to such beautifully transcendent moments.

Words: Original published on


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