Looper Up A Tree
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Looper is Stuart David from Belle and Sebastian, it says so on the sticker on the cover. However on listening to this album the connection wouldn't be immediately obvious, as this is very different fare indeed. The proclamation on the cover isn't an idle boast either, with almost every song being David's work alone, apart from occasional guest vocals and even rarer guest musicians. Everything else is samples arranged by David, played by him and sung or spoken by him. The songs are a diverse mix of funky beats, clever samples and spoken word stories, not unlike Eels, Susan's House, which display David's talent for writing engaging tales admirably. One such tale is told on Impossible Things #2, a gorgeous story set to a simple beat with flute and harmonica complimenting it beautifully. Similar songs are Dave The Moon Man, another example of sparkling prose set to an infectious tune and Columbo's Car, a tongue in cheek parody about the TV detective in which he investigates Stuart David for stealing samples, all set to a funky jazz tune. Stuart David also has an ear for a catchy sample and knows how to mix them for maximum effect. The Treehouse is a thumping beat, a haunting melody and a brilliant sampled lyric. Ballad of Ray Suzuki is a dance tune on which David lets rip with all the samples he can find and Burning Flies is David mixing it up to the odd lyric of "I'm quite happy burning flies." Just to prove that Looper isn't just about samples and funky beats, there's Quiet And Small, for which David owes the Velvet Underground's, Pale Blue Eyes a huge debt. On the evidence of Up A Tree Stuart David may find Looper, unlike many side projects, outshines his day job as bassist with Belle And Sebastian. Let's hope this album isn't a once off, as Looper has too much to offer. A brilliant debut, haunting, funky, melodic, Up A Tree has it all.