Thursday, February 19, 2015

Twilight Nuages - 1977 - Twilight Nuages

Twilight Nuages
Twilight Nuages

01. Intro   
02. Lazy Sunday Afternoons
03. You Can Always Walk Away (Song For The Only)   
04. That Is Love (Chasing Backwards)
05. Nanner's Theme
06. Find My Dream Come True
07. Rose-Marie
08. Lonely Clown   
09. Life Goes On, Love Goes On

Tenor Saxophone – Santo Petruzzello
Bass Guitar, Guitar – Bobby Genovese
Drums, Vocals – Barry Mott
Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Producer – Bill Last
Keyboards, Guitar – Pat Gregor
Lead Vocals – Ann* (tracks: B4), Barry* (tracks: B1), Bill* (tracks: A1, A2, A4, B2), Ellen* (tracks: B1), Jane* (tracks: A3, A4)
Vocals – Ann Pearlin, Diane Willis (2), Ellen Unger, Jane Talbot
Written By – Dandurand (tracks: B3)
Written-By – Mott* (tracks: B1), Last*

“Life goes on, Love goes on.” It certainly did for the Twilight Nuages. 36 years earlier, the soon to be erstwhile Nuages intoned the phrase over and over to close their privately pressed debut album. Taking their name from a Django Reinhardt song (that dealt with that magical time of day between afternoon and evening). The group was the musical brainchild of Connecticut school teacher Bill Last; who rounded up students and his local musician pals into an outsider pop supergroup. You can almost see the fading beams of sunlight that might have radiated into Bill’s parents’ basement, where the group did most of it’s recording and rehearsing. The music itself is what some jaded collector types might refer to as “real people music.” Like the best of these types of records, it sounds both of it’s time and completely out of time. Recorded earnestly (live to a 2 track reel to reel) and pressed in a small quantity of vinyl LPs. Most copies of the original pressing were consigned to fate’s dead letter office. Thankfully, due to what one can imagine was some sort of slip in the space time continuum; one of the ill fated copies of the groups’ self titled debut ended up in the hands of recent upstart Philadelphia based label, Folk Evaluation (with distribution via the venerable Light In The Attic). The label that has given the Twilight Nuages’ debut album a much deserved new lease on life and reissue on vinyl.

The sound of the group could best be described as outsider pop. Bill Last certainly knew his way around the catalogs of Paul McCartney, Pete Ham, Michael Nesmith and (yes, even the Piano Man himself) Billy Joel. The songs themselves shift tone, mood and perspective and certainly aim to please. The recordings are for the most part unmistakably live and at times a little off kilter. Due to the large size of the band and Last’s knack for arrangements; the recordings reveal depth and nuances that are illuminated over repeat listenings. Comparisons to such outsider rock classmates such as the Langley Schools Music Project are likely due to the inexperience and enthusiasm of some of the younger student members of the group. Highlights include numbers such as You Can Always Walk Away (Song For the Only) which kind of reminds me of a Rumours era Christie McVie jam, injected with a dash of wide eyed youthful innocence. Whilst elsewhere the music veers from folk to pop to rock to country and even a little dash of lounge at times. Lazy Sunday Afternoons with it’s kazoo solos and lo-fi Beatlesque swing, indicates the band shares some inadvertent DNA with latter day groups like the Olivia Tremor Control and the harmonies on Find My Dream Come True recall classic Zombies; while expert wedding band-informed sax and organ solos fill in the gaps. The brief instrumental Nanner’s Theme evokes the breeziness of early Kevin Ayers. Joys like these abound on the record from cover to cover.

All in all, this album is sure to please those with a certain affection for outsider sounds and with word there are two more Twlight Nuages albums ripe for rediscovery. Let’s hope they get a little more of a second chance in the sun this time, before evening descends again.
Monstrous real-people garage-pop dreamer... gorgeous lo-fi working-man songcraft, epic epic pop sensibility. Perfect heart-on-their sleeve vocals from Bill and a few high-school girls, a touch of saxophone here or there, a little organ, sunny day guitar strumming, a hauntingly sweet love song with steel guitar (!!!). Amazing transcendental larger than life quality to it all, like the band thought they were every bit the class act their song-writing conveys even though everything is a little sloppy and endearingly home-spun. It's one in a million, truly, this kind of alchemy - and plays through like a true album. Very very inspired stuff that has just completely bowled me over, with wild crude living-room production and amateur charm oozing everywhere! Don't let the late recording date fool you... this is as honest and tender-hearted as when you first swooned for the Beatles or realized that music might be the saving grace of your existence. Lifts me totally out of my chair and leads me through a starry night of pure imagination and youthful wonderment. Unreal! By Joakim Peso

Here is the almost unknown (no entries in Acid Archives and Pokora's books, popsike details for one auction only) and surprisingly great (yeah!) treasure from 70's private press americana fields... Pop? Yes. With some tricksy ssw and lounge moves. Just melodic well-crafted songs - some catchy and midtempo driving, some lazy floating - one by one, stronger and stronger! With charming male/female harmonies, warm and lighthearted aura, and perhaps the vibe... it's sounding more like late 60's than late 70's... Another one of Twilight Nuages' paradoxes - combination of lo-fi bedroom/garage feel with high professional, strong and delicate, arrangements - some flute, sax, keys, steel guitar - so tasty.
You can skip short intro but the next six songs - it's like.. I don't know.. Terrific pleasure! Six songs divided by little instrumental. And maybe the last song only, with overextended beginning and little repetitive and loud chorus, seems to me not so good. The rest is excellent!
Every new album - it's like terra incognita, like new enigma for music lovers and collectors, always. Even if you already read some reviews before or your friend said you something about... In late december of last year I saw Joaquim_Peso's review on this album, his recent discovery... And now, after my listening experience with this album, I think... What a wonderful find... Congratulations! Great great thanks, Jack.



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