The Caretaker

We'll All Go Riding On a Rainbow

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V/Vm main man James Kirby has been known to haunt the record shops of his native Southport, and not necessarily the ones that have replaced their listening booths with a pair of dingy headphones. Despite his dance upbringing and experimental leanings, Kirby is a maven of the British dance-band era, the years when any Brit who lived in a sizable seaside town could count on an orchestra led by Roy Fox or Ted Heath or Ray Noble to pack out a ballroom close to the pier, with a vocalist like Al Bowlly creating wonderful memories for an entire generation. The second Caretaker LP is a somber, experimental affair, its 16 tracks creating such an atmosphere of dread and despair that the listener can soon become convinced Kirby has actually spent time in a haunted ballroom, or perhaps left his DAT recorder overnight to pick up the spectral tones of a long-ago dance band. Passages of muted ambience prevail, though on several tracks it's easy to pick out a shadowy orchestra amidst the hiss of the recording and other flaws introduced into the tape for a terrifyingly authentic sound. More than just another V/Vm experimental record, We'll All Go Riding on a Rainbow is the score to an alternate version of Kubrick's The Shining, with the ghostly crooning of a disembodied Bowlly (whose recordings were used in the film) replaced by an atmosphere of rather ominous nostalgia.

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