Dork Radio
Now playing:
In the mag...
Featuring Bombay Bicycle Club, The Big Moon, Soccer Mommy and a whole load more!
Order a copy
February 2020
Review

The Proper Ornaments - Foxhole

While the lighter touch appeals, all too often the songs themselves get blown away.
The Proper Ornaments - Foxhole
Published: 11:13 am, January 20, 2017
While the lighter touch appeals, all too often the songs themselves get blown away.

Label: Tough Love
Released: 20th January 2017
Rating: ★★

After a chance encounter involving boots, a vintage clothes shop and a light-fingered ex, James Hoare (Veronica Falls/Ultimate Painting) and TOY’s Max Oscarnold released their first full-length as The Proper Ornaments back in 2014.

If their name - from a song by late ‘60s New York harmony-poppers The Free Design - suggested sunny-side up breezy listening, ‘Wooden Head’ was a lot more rough-hewn, heavy on worn and fuzzily indistinct indie tropes.

Two-and-a-bit years on, ‘Foxhole’ is an airier prospect, thanks in part to what Hoare calls a “happy accident” with a broken studio tape machine leading the band to substitute more sparse, intimate home recordings. This suits the stronger songs well. The harmony-laden ‘Back Pages 2’ is a warm, reflective stroll, even if the Byrds-via-Mark Gardner vocals and guitar arpeggios suggest more vintage kleptomania, and the hypnotic, gently pulsating ‘Cremated (Blown Away)’ a quieter counterpart to Ultimate Painting’s Bills. Elsewhere, the melancholy Lennonisms of ‘Memories’ and ‘Bridge By a Tunnel’ impress.

Mostly, though, it’s rather unmemorable, the softer settings doing little to paper over the weaker tracks. ‘Just A Dream’ drags, not so much dreamlike as curled-up, hungover, and ‘1969’ is only lifted by the introduction of a synth melody at the chorus.

The second side has a pair of Floyd-esque highlights in the darker, downbeat psychedelia of ‘Jeremy’s Song’ – giving the album its title (“keep your head down/in the foxhole”) – and the brief, reminiscent ‘When We Were Young’, but overall it’s unfortunate that – thanks to Hoare’s work rate – this comes so hot on the heels of Ultimate Painting’s fine ‘Dusk’ (along with TOY’s ‘Clear Shot’). While the lighter touch appeals, all too often - as the chorus of ‘Cremated’ suggests - the songs themselves get blown away. Rob Mesure

Give all this a try

The 1975 get loved up on their new single 'Me & You Together Song'
Listen

The 1975 get loved up on their new single 'Me & You Together Song'

The latest track to be taken from fourth album 'Notes on a Conditional Form' is streaming now.
The new issue of Dork is out now, featuring Bombay Bicycle Club, The Big Moon and more!
New issue!

The new issue of Dork is out now, featuring Bombay Bicycle Club, The Big Moon and more!

They're joined by Soccer Mommy, Blossoms, Georgia, Mura Masa and loads more.
Fickle Friends are still 'Pretty Great' with their brand new single
Feature

Fickle Friends are still 'Pretty Great' with their brand new single

Natti tells us about that, and their new album...
Rina Sawayama has announced her debut album, check out brand new banger 'Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys)'
Incoming

Rina Sawayama has announced her debut album, check out brand new banger 'Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys)'

Titled 'Sawayama', the full-length will be with us on 17th April via Dirty Hit.
Like this? Subscribe to Dork and get every issue delivered direct to your door anywhere on the planet.
CONTACT PRIVACY ADVERTISE

© 2018 The Bunker Publishing