BREAKING UP: THE RESEARCH Thursday 12 January, 2012

This should not be as good as it is.

Imagine that you went to see a show at the end of a pier in a seaside resort. You’d be expecting sequins, tinsel curtains, Bontempi/Farfisa keyboards and very little enjoyment. Now form an audio image of that in your mind. There’d be some sad-sack ‘entertainer’ there bashing out all the old standards. You’d be sitting there wondering who the godawful songs were standard for and when he’d come to the end of his repertoire. You know the kind of sound. Dodgy keyboard. Very cheap drum sounds that are poorly programmed. Average singing voice. Got that image in your mind? Ok. Now imagine that he is in the middle of a crippling break-up and he’s funnelled all of that pain and angst into some songs of his own composition. That is ‘Breaking Up’ by The Research and despite how horrid it sounds it’s amazing.

I love this album. It is full of exquisitely crafted songs from start to finish. It’s incredible how the band have managed to take such a limited sonic palette and craft songs which are genuinely touching. Without closer inspection it might sound like all of the songs on this album were made by singing over the top of the pre-programmed demo songs on your Yamaha keyboard. They certainly weren’t though.

All of the songs here detail elements and feelings of a break up. They are beautifully observed and perfectly match the tone of the music. Russell Searle’s voice is slight and more like talking but still just about holding a melody. This is good news because Georgia Lashbrook and Sarah Williams do an excellent job with some beautiful harmonies. I’m not sure who plays bass on this album but I love the bass, it’s a wonderful counterpoint to the cheesy keyboards.

It took me quite a few listens to ‘get’ this album. It would have been so easy to reject it as rubbish instead of persevering. I am so glad I made the effort though. It’s such an odd sounding album and so excellently crafted that it’s defiantly withstanding the test of time. Now we just need to get other people too recognise that fact.

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