How To Cure Dyslexia - The Tempo Of Bicycles And Boats
Louise Evans 28/02/2007
Trying to present the process of recording an album as an art form does seem a little pretentious. Attempting to record your debut album in an art gallery open to the public and within a restricted timeframe seems a very brave (or more likely a crazy) idea. Yet How To Cure Dyslexia have managed to do just that; within a week they recorded The Tempo Of Bicycles And Boats at the Spaceshift Gallery in London under the gaze of, and with occasional contribution from, the general public.
However you wouldn't be able to guess the album's origins from its sound. There are no hushed whispers in the background, no cheering or clapping at the end of songs and they've picked a gallery with the right acoustics for this purpose so there are no unsightly echoes. What they have achieved is a series of whimsical, charming tracks with lyrics focussing on the turbulent nature of relationships. Album opener 'Close Your Eyes' is a great example of both the strength of the songwriting on show and of the overall feel of the album. Its combination of acoustic guitar, keyboards and melodica create a dreamy lullaby complemented by the gentle girl-boy harmonies.
'Little Else' is a delightful little ditty containing observations on the happenings of a typical British day mixed in with a regretful dialogue on not proposing. Set to a background of gently strummed acoustic guitars, this melancholic song is the stand out track on the album. Elsewhere songwriter and vocalist David Miller demonstrates a bittersweet wry lyrical style in the same vein as Morrissey, and juxtaposes his tales with warm embracing music. In 'Humour' he mulls over an uncomfortable encounter with someone on an entirely different wavelength; the sour lyrical content is offset by twinkling vibraphone infused pop.
Album instrumentals 'Afternoon' and 'Around The Houses' sound decidedly similar. While the latter is slightly more lively and jazzier, both have a very chilled feel which conjures images of summer evenings on a beach. But with a combined length of almost ten minutes, they are that little bit too indistinguishable from each other to hold the attention for the duration. 'All At Sea' seems rather clumsy with the vocals plodding along over the sparse music; Miller appears to have taken the topic of daydreaming slightly too literally when writing this track.
'The Tempo Of Bicycles And Boats' is a rather apt title - this album has a gentle dreamy feel which works well most of the time. Miller seems a strong enough songwriter to suggest his future is bright, although he may want to consider a change of band name.