Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures
[photo credit: David Jazay]
Stanley Brinks began performing officially as André Herman Düne in 1999, sharing lead vocals, guitar playing and songwriting with his brother David in the band Herman Düne for a number of years. They released several albums and toured extensively in UK, gaining and owing a lot to great support from John Peel. He has used many monikers for various side-projects, but since leaving Herman Düne in 2006, he has been known solely as Stanley Brinks.
Born in Paris, Stan has been living between New York, San Francisco, Malta and Berlin for about a decade, always on the move. He has recorded more than 100 albums, collaborated with the New York Antifolk scene on several occasions, recorded and toured with traditional Norwegian musicians, and played a lot with The Wave Pictures.
The Wave Pictures are David Tattersall, Franic Rozycki and Jonny “Huddersfield” Helm. Formed in 1998 when Franic and David lived in a village called Wymeswold, the band played with several drummers until Jonny became a permanent member in 2003 replacing Hugh J Noble. In the beginning the band learned to play together by covering Jonathan Richman songs but soon David was writing lots of original material.
They have since released five studio albums to critical acclaim and played numerous sessions on BBC 6 Music, Radio 1 and Xfm. The interest generated by these recordings has enabled The Wave Pictures to play shows all over the world with artists including Jeffrey Lewis, Darren Hayman, Stanley Brinks, Freschard and Herman Dune.
Stanley Brinks returns with his fourth album accompanied by The Wave Pictures, My Ass.
After ‘Gin’ Brinks wasted no time in taking The Wave Pictures straight back to the studio, bright and early, the morning after the final show of their tour, to ensure they lost none of the fire still burning in their hearts from the final night’s drinks. Three playful days and twelve loose, jazzy, tracks later, with Brinks making salubrious use of his new penny-whistle and the assembled studio choir of friends hanging out, embraced into the recordings, he had his camel, ‘My Ass’.
‘My Ass’ is an album born out of Brinks’ life on the road, life as an outsider. It is a celebration of new drinking companions, in new bars, in new towns, every night. The memories of loved ones left at home, of places you can smoke inside and drink warm beer through the night. The shows that you wish could last forever. That island in the sun that keeps bringing you back
‘Wakefield’, the first single has a jazzy flowing bass driving a day in the life of Brinks on tour: a sense of togetherness, a touch of sax and the knowledge that love will act as a shield against all evil.
‘Berlin’ is yet another anthemic Brinks sing-along. Its airy ambivalence celebrates both the freedom and the ensuing pressures of his beloved adoptive hometown.
My Ass press
“There’s an electricity about their fourth joint album, especially the live-in-the-room playing and Brinks’ fallen choirboy vocals. The campfire singalongs Brighton and Berlin dispense boozy wisdom from Brinks’ 20-year touring lifestyle, and have an infectious Jonathan Richman-via-Cornershop vibe. Rootsier still, My Camel finds Brinks digging into his Moroccan background with a North African penny whistle, while Fire To My Mind is an irresistible calypso. All told: an absolute joy.” Q [4/5]
“Brinks stumbles into leftfield loveliness with elevated fare like ‘Fire To My Mind’ or ‘Think About You’, sounding like a junk shop jug-band playing a new strain of Middle Eastern calypso” Uncut [6/10]
“There’s no mistaking the unique sound of Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures in every single note on My Ass, but the overall mood seems to be uncharacteristically downbeat. A certain amount of that can, no doubt, be ascribed to the rigours of life on the road, of always acting out the trope of ‘the guitar man’ – and perhaps there’s also a lesson to be learned about hitting the studio the morning after you finish touring – but here the music seems to be tempered with a growing realisation that the sting in the tail of a nomadic life is the intractability of maintaining any kind of long-term, loving relationship. Nevertheless, it’s a powerfully honest album which, when played back-to-back with Gin, creates an almost perfect soundtrack to the humdrum, everyday existence of many people, to the ups and downs of lives lived to the fullest extent possible and, for that alone, My Ass is definitely something to be cherished.” Folk Radio
“Stanley and the Wave Pictures are well-matched in producing this playful, lo-fi charmer, which is their fourth album together. Just like Jonathan Richman, he has the ability to take simple ideas and make them profound and cherishable. Even if you can’t keep up with his total output, these collaborations with the Wave Pictures are as good as anything he’s done.” Sounds XP
“With Brinks drawing more deeply on his mixed Swedish-Moroccan heritage and his globe-trotting experiences and The Wave Pictures enveloping his songs with a blend of Velvet Underground-meets-Modern Lovers shapes and adaptive accommodation of Brinks’s more exotic tastes, My Ass has a laidback yet studious reach.
Whilst Stanley Brinks’ fey tones and deliberately oddball lyrics may still put-off those unaccustomed to his idiosyncratic ways, there’s no denying that there is something undefinably special and life-affirming forged inside this fourth time around trip with The Wave Pictures, which makes its magnetic presence felt with each addiction-inciting airing. A somewhat unexpected pleasure all told.” DOA
“a decidedly eclectic affair that ranges from music hall influenced and penny whistle-featuring opener My Camel, the (very) vaguely Johnny Cash meets Lou Reed twang chugger Brighton and the ramshackle sax parping calypso Fire To Mind to the brilliant and insanely infectious mid-tempo calypso gospel Berlin, Think About You, another Egyptian-tinged number about a camel and the titular ass, the breezy jazzy upright bass and cornet (?) swing Wakefield, about getting laid on a rainy day in Yorkshire, and the hybrid snakecharmer/war dance rhythms of With My Chin. Lyrically downbeat (life on the road and relationships don’t go together), but generally musically chipper, it’s a curio for sure, but a hugely enjoyable and toe-tapping one.” Roots and Branches
“The songs I like best have a kind of carribean flavour. The best one by miles is ‘My Camel’ which has a bit of an ‘Egyptian Reggae’ flavour and is way more mysterious than anything else here. ‘Fire To My Mind’ too is a bit of sing along fun a bit like the lilt ad. Despite being over 40, Brinks is still ruminating on potential romantic liaisons not working out but from the general tone here I am assured that he has plenty of fun out on the road.” Norman Records
“The songs are like jokes made in deadly earnest. They ooze melancholy yet are also replete with a resigned bemusement towards life’s transient pleasures. “I’m like an electron, you could say I hardly exist” he muses with no great sadness on Fire To My Mind.” Whisperinandhollerin [7/10]
“The album continues to take us on a journey of wonderful songs that the listener can wrap their ears around. One of the many highlights is ‘Berlin’, this is one of those songs where the word perfect does not seem enough; the hooks, melodies, and reflective lyrics will leave a very memorable stamp on those that take the time to listen “We are older than the world we live in”.” A Musical Priority
“Berlin is a woozy anthemic ode to Stanley’s current city of choice, as he puts it, Berlin is about, “both the freedom and the ensuing pressures of his beloved adoptive hometown”. Musically, The Wave Pictures provide a gentle swoon of a backing, and they’re all joined by the vocal talents of Freschard for a chorus that is screaming out for numerous hazy, gently drunken sing-alongs on their upcoming tour dates. If Berlin is a sign of the album to come then mark My Ass down as one of our most anticipated albums of the year.” For The Rabbits
“‘Berlin’ is no different, absorbing exotic sounds and mixing them with a neat slice of guitar-pop with a memorable, sing-along chorus featuring what sounds like the whole studio team. The warmth and talk of “last night’s drinks” are something of a contrast to much music associated with the German city. B-side ‘It’s Complicated’ has a similarly clear vocal and again uses many voices, but the pace slows to create a different atmosphere; perhaps one that’s a little more thoughtful and maudlin. These are two fine tracks though, so long may this partnership continue.” The Sound Of Confusion
“Wakefield, featuring some delightful Dixie-land saxophone honking, trademark Wave Pictures bouncing guitar lines and Stanley singing some unsurprisingly odd lyrics about how, “our love like a shield against all evil and Wakefield on our side.” Whether the might of the West-Yorkshire City would really take to Stanley, well we’re not quite so sure, but maybe My Ass will convert people across the land to the joy of this special collaboration.” For The Rabbits
Song Of The Day – Folk Radio
“Last year’s album Gin was a treat. And more new music is on the way from the delightful collaboration between Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures. Wakefield is taken from the indie dream team’s new album Ass, which is out later this year. It’s very, very good.” State51
Fika033: Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures – Orange Juice [7″/DL]
Fika034: Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures – Spinola Bay (SB-Vox) [DL]
Fika036: Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures – Gin [12″/CD/DL]
Stanley Brinks is joined by The Wave Pictures for their third album together; their first since 2010’s ‘Another One Just Like That’.
Recorded entirely live in the studio, without headphones or overdubs, and with a good deal of improvisation, ‘Gin’ is a modern-sounding, in a way avant-garde, old school recording of text-driven songs. The Wave Pictures didn’t get a chance to learn the songs before the session, Stan having forgotten to put a stamp on the demo tape he’d sent them from Berlin.
To anyone familiar with Stanley Brinks’ huge discography – more than 100 albums – ‘Gin’ might sound considerably more raw and less sophisticated than some of his previous recordings. However this body of work remains rich in jazzy sounds and original structures, the songs looser and full of playfulness, the lyrics encapsulating their essence.
It goes without saying that Gin – the drink – was the inspiration for the album; while writing, and while recording.
“a set that’s as wistful and charming as it is playful and self-concious”
“The Wave Pictures’ classy post-punkish bite is a great foil to Brinks’ whimsy on these unhinged, loose-limbed story songs. Sometimes gin makes you win as much as sin.”
“typically rich in a variety of sounds and structures; the songs are looser, more playful and all the more endearing because of it”
Loud and Quiet
“This is nerve-jangling, hard-surfaced, soft-centred funny, shot through with sadness. The new Lost Boys, the Unlikliest Lads.”
Rock n Reel [4/5]
“a joyous and celebratory record which crackles and sparkles with a joie de vivre which is sadly lacking from all too many of Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures’ contemporaries”
“Gin rises above the swiftness of its creation, thanks to these few detours that Brinks and The Wave Pictures take around their usual territory. The fact that the catchiest track from this session – the single ‘Orange Juice’ – is not included just underlines that these guys seem to seamlessly slot together when they hit the studio”
Drowned In Sound
“The album is deceptively simple but has real depth and quality and the artists spark off each other; the Wave Pictures are skilled at what they do (David Tattersall fires off all sorts of fast and sharp solos) while Stanley Brinks, first with Herman Dune and now on his own, shows that he can twist a melody until it squeals with anguish. When the two parts come together as ‘Gin’, it’s a refreshing pick-me-up; a tonic in fact…”
“there are lead guitar breaks which are loud and clean, like a messy second-grunge-era approximation of the great early electric guitarists from the ’50s like Les Paul and Jimmy Bryant, real nimble but a bit anarchic too”
Norman Records [8/10]
“‘Parking Lots”’has a classic Wave Pictures groove, but ‘No Goodbyes’ has a brooding intensity I don’t automatically associate with them. Instead of the dizzying guitars, a single chord is thrashed over and over. Brinks’ vocal sound winsome, but with a knowing creepiness, as he spits out “I know better than to think too much”. Johnny Helm’s furious drumming steals the show as the song draws to its end.
‘Gin’ reaches a delightful conclusion with the sweet ballad, “Not to Kiss You”, where Brinks writes sadly of a non-quite love affair, around a melody that could have fallen off Dylan’s ‘Blonde On Blonde’. It’s a delightful end to an invigorating record.”
Penny Black Music
“human, imperfect and with mistakes that aren’t ironed out but laid bare to be accepted rather than ridiculed.
It’s shambolic – yes, but still full of energy and lyrical idiosyncrasies that shine through”
“Brinks’ adds an earnest and romantic edge as compared to The Wave Pictures’ slightly more irreverent stance, with drunken recollection seeming to inform his storytelling.”
“Gin exercises its creator’s idiosyncrasies more successfully, and, as on their previous two secondments, The Wave Pictures prove nicely suited to the record’s loose, improvisational style.”
The Skinny [3/5]
“There is a wonderful naïve feel to the album, more impressionistic than precise. It has an intensity like Gauguin, bright and colourful but still with that all is not right in paradise feel.”
“punctuated by ripping guitar solos that sound like they’ve been recorded though a rusty tin can. In a good way”
Is This Music [9/10]
“The result is as it should be: an honest, raw album that perfectly illustrates the journey musicians make while creating it. A staggeringly good album that’s definitely worth a place on your shelf.”
Outline Online [9/10]
“Gin [is] a fitting title for an album brimming with snickered lyrics and tipsy melodies”
The Big Takeover
“the gentle bounce of ‘Max In The Elevator’ is infectiously pretty, the call and response vocals of ‘Parking Lots’ inherently hummable, and closing track ‘Not To Kiss You’ is all elegant romance.”
Subba Culture [6/10]
“Brinks relies on good old-fashioned narrative to get his message across, in songs reminiscent of Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers, or the post-punk of David Thomas and Pere Ubu.”
“an album of riotous joy-bringing.”
“gentle and evocative rock”
Orange Juice press:
“Brinks comes over all Modern Life Is Rubbish as he laments life’s disappointments, including a 21st-century ‘Panic’ refrain of “the radio sucks balls, I don’t relate to any of the music they’re playing at all”. The antidote, apparently, is a cocktail of “alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, ephedrine and orange juice”. That out of these it is the healthy option that is chosen for the song’s title shows the whole thing is done with a glint in the eye.”
For Folks Sake
“sounds like Herman Dune when they were charmingly naïve and elegantly simple, a rock’n’roll strum with an easy rhythm, anthemic chorus and some memorable lyrics… a great, singalong single that promises much for forthcoming album Gin”
“This is massively catchy. You’ll never be able to stop singing it. Over a ramshackle Jonathan Richman style lollop they advise us that basically everything is shit but they’ll get by with alcohol, tobacco, caffeine ephedrine and orange juice.”
Norman Records [8/10]
“In matching life’s hangdog vagaries with love’s jubilation, Orange Juice lifts gloom into hard-won glory. It’s pure musical joy.”
Did Not Chart
“this fun little number could be my new theme song for surviving SxSW”
Austin Town Hall
“It might sound slightly daft to say that you ‘know’ John Peel would have loved a particular band or song, but given that Stanley Brinks did get support from the legendary DJ before his death, I’m not really being that presumptuous about this.”
“Picking the best track out of the two is something of a challenge, so investing in both is recommended”
The Sound Of Confusion
BBC 6 Music session with Marc Riley [broadcast 6th March 2014]
For press information please contact Chris Stone / Stone Immaculate: email@example.com
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