I guess here's the point where I try to make some lame joke about drummers and potentially piss off all the fine drummers that I know. Still, it's not a lie to say that an a collection of indie pop this melodic in spots does not entirely sound like the work of a skin-basher, you know?
Stuart Kidd has got a resume to kill for. The guy drummed on that excellent Jonny record from Euros Childs of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub, then he made an appearance on the equally excellent album from SFA bass-man Guto Pryce's Gulp, then he showed up on that cool Poundstore Riot record with Ash Cooke of Derrero and Pulco, and finally this year he surfaced on the superb Linden album from Slumberland Records. And that's not even to mention his time in The Wellgreen or the trippy Dr. Cosmo's Tape Lab, is it?
Well now Stu Kidd has returned to offer up Hotchpotch, a collection of tracks from his solo releases. Serving as a sort of 'best of' to this guy's lo-fi pop tinkering, the collection stands on its own as a great record.
Openers "Alfie" and "Little Lucy" charm with the sort of melodic pop sense previously exhibited by artists like Mull Historical Society and Badly Drawn Boy. These are expertly crafted little slices of Beatlesque music that are sure to please fans of those previously-mentioned acts.
"4 Leaf Clover" and "Win or Lose" nod in the direction of Teenage Fanclub, and even Travis, while "Please Say You'll Stay" is as good as anything on that much-praised Linden album.
If "Breathe in the Country" seems on a par with early Lilac Time stuff, then "Rooftop Cityscape" recalls those moments on Super Furry Animals albums where things get gentle and lyrical. This is excellent stuff all around, really.
At his best Stuart Kidd takes his place next to Damon Gough for being able to pen music that remains both wildly catchy and moderately ambitious; "Ring the Belle" offers up the sort of indie pop that Badly Drawn Boy did so well on his early singles. Warm and bouncy, the track is a delight, as is much of Hotchpotch.
I think the biggest success of this collection is that it immediately makes a listener want to go out and hear more from KiDD, and not just the albums Stu Kidd has played on previously. Hotchpotch is a sort of crash-course on one of the best musicians we've probably not heard enough from so far. As good as all those acts he's a member of, Stuart Kidd's KiDD is a one-man band that deserves far wider appeal. Hotchpotch, out in a couple of weeks, serves as a delightful sampler of this guy's equally charming indie pop wizardry.
Grab Hotchpotch by KiDD via the Bandcamp links below. More details via TheBarneSociety.com.