Kelman - I Felt My Sad Heart Soar (Advance album sampler)

George Bass 01/03/2008

Rating: 4/5

Coming home to a Jiffy Bag in practitioner's handwriting lying butter-side down on your doormat can mean only one thing: Wayne Gooderham and his Merry Celeste Men are once again under starters' orders, ready to save the world from the Morrissey-for-project-managers outfits who threaten to overthrow the indie mantle. Kelman, whose debut album Loneliness Has Kept Us Alive was a highly original and critically ignored essay on life for solitary stoics, seem to exist as a kind of Sterling Morrison riff on Schrödinger's Cat - locked away in some tamper-proof strongbox to keep themselves safe from fleas and castration. The new pickings they demo here show they're ready to rescue a genre still mourning the death of Arab Strap, with Gooderham, as ever, remaining as quietly resigned to disaster as a Hereford down-and-out on Selection Week. Commercial Road takes him to the city, and sees its humble narrator stagger sadly down London's most clogged inlet, all the while sending signals to the girl forever in his blind spot. 'Your gentle fists pummeling my defences down/And so with every blow/I say goodbye to pieces of me I never want you to know', he croons in his breathy trill, accompanied by some of the most carefree electric piano you'll find outside of a Life On Mars swingers' party. It's instances such as these that Kelman capture so well - that fleeting flash of resolution hidden in nights of centrifugal stupor; something that makes you beg the barstaff for a Biro. As the bells gong and doormen start to fidget, organs, guitars and cellos come together on the plodding Shut A Final Door, while Kicking Cans All The Way Home, a dayglo dirge dented with dreamy dejection set the night the clocks go back, feels more quaintly English than realising Meridian South East have forgotten to bleep the bloody bits out of a Bank Holiday Bond film. Lyrically, things are definitely well on course for the upcoming second album, and anyone missing the boat this time is depriving themselves of an on-board meal so good you want to cloche it. If music be the food of love, pass the sauce.