"50,000,000 Elvis fans can't be wrong, I guess
they knew it all along
If you want to be a star, go today - buy a suit of gold lamé."
After posting all these Chris Knox albums, it is about time to pay homage to the other Tall Dwarf, Alec Bathgate. Not nearly as prolific as his counterpart, he nevertheless was an important ingredient to the Tall Dwarfs, and listening to his solo album you can immediately tell why. He's the guy with all the wacky ideas that made the Tall Dwarfs songs so intriguing. Where Knox excels in song-writing, Bathgate keeps it all interesting by making sure the loops are always fresh and just crazy enough to keep you hooked. As a result, Gold Lamé sounds a lot more like a Tall Dwarfs record than some of Knox' later solo output.
From Flying Nun:
The 16 songs that make up Gold Lamé were recorded onto a four-track over the
space of a year by Alec alone in his garage. Away from Chris Knox, Alec still gives us
many of the great stylistic touches at the core of the Tall Dwarfs on his own album, from
crunching riffs over rhythm loop rumbles to fairground psychedelia. Gold Lamé is
stacked with good moods and undeniably sweet sixties melodies right from the moment its
first track, "Win Your Love", descends into something like a Beach Boys' Smile
out-take. Later we get Alec picking up the voice of Velvets-era Lou Reed on
"Ain't It Strange" and the Knox-Bathgate Beatles touchstone appears nicely-done
on "Slow Parade". As with the best of Tall Dwarfs' output, Gold Lamé so
often feels like a gem left out in the forest in 1969....
Alec's experienced recording hand is immediately evident in arrangements like
"Carl's Arrows", where the four-track recording is not necessarily
"lo-fi" and encompasses voice, guitars, toy xylophone and piano. There's
extensive use of casio keyboard tones and rhythms on many songs including a cover of
reggae classic, "Train To Skaville". Deft backwards sounds punctuate
"Run" alongside a nice electric guitar melody. Elsewhere, songs make room for
Alec's big guitaring — his fantastic strumming on acoustic at the heart of tunes like
the title track and a burr of solid electrics on others like "Pet Hates".