Album Appreciation: Around by Thought Bubble

Thought Bubble are a duo comprising Chris Cordwell (synths and keybords) and Nick Raybould (live drums and production) which was, I believe, originally conceived as something of a side project for the two musicians. If it was, then it is one of those happy coincIdences that occur from time to time, whereby people come together to produce something that is both worthwhile and just that little bit different to stand out from other current releases.

It is one of those records that is difficult to pigeonhole, but all the better for it, as each track represent something of a tangent from the previous one. As such I’m not going to even try to place them, but for me the best music does not have any genre specificity anyway.

The album opens with ’The Waves’ in such a manner that slightly discombobulates the listener… some spoken word over a simple beat immediately going into what could be described as a ’Middle Eastern vibe’… with a guest musician (of which there are a number here) on what sounds like a clarinet. The upshot is something that marks out this set throughout: a number of different ideas that seem to naturally work well with each other. At times it feels quirky, and others rather sophisticated… but the overall impression is something that is just a joy to listen to… just let it wash over you.

After than we are quickly into the high tempo throb of ’Beatwave’. This is a much more in your face number which mixes a motorik beat with something a little more ephemeral… it is almost as if there are two beats… one synth and one analogue, not competing but complimenting each other in a way that I find difficult to comprehend when I try to break it down in my mind… the answer to this I this is just to go with it as it works.

‘Mobius Trip’ in some ways reminds me of the work of Cavalier Song from a few years ago… with its spoken word vocal simultaneously complimenting and contrasting with the music happening behind it. Again it gives you the feeling of more than one thing going on at once… and you find yourself almost mentally flicking between the strands until the psychedelic beat gradually merges everything into one… resulting in a rather satisfying feeling of unity. The beats are cranked up again on ‘Rat Race’ where elements of techno seem to be added into the mix… again this feels completely off the wall… as times almost as if Bentley Rhythm Ace have fallen through a wormhole into a contemporary club night (and how good would that be by the way?).

This is followed by ’Fluctuate’ which has a real panoramic feel to it and, with the addition of some harpsichord sounds and clarinet, the track is elevated further as various elements seem to float in mid-air in front of you. For me this gives off a very laid-back vibe which you can really just sit back and enjoy (perhaps after having danced to the previous one)… either way it has a lovely soundtrack feel… and I am sure you could insert your own mental narrative very successfully here.

Last up is ‘Devoider’, which is an all together more meditative track. If feels like something of a comedown after what has gone before, not in a bad way though. I like what feels like Krautrock and Pink Floyd influences here, and how Thought Bubble have again defied expectations with such a different approach. However, as the music begins to build again it seems an appropriate way to end what is such an eclectic record; although, it must be said, all within what is an atmosphere that is discernible throughout the set.

’Around’ is available to pre-order now at Dirty Filthy records here.



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