Resin Pockets is the first album release in ten years from Bristol-based band Crescent that were formed in the early 1990’s by Matt Jones. Released on 26th May via Geographic Music, watch their latest video Impressions:
If it’s been a long while since Little Waves, the intimate treasure they released in 2007, that’s because much like peers Movietone and Flying Saucer Attack, Crescent move in slow motion, but with sure steps, only doing things when they feel right and true. You can hear this in the confidence that underpins the nine songs written by Crescent leader Matt Jones for Resin Pockets, an album that nestles beautifully into a long history of visionary outsider English pop craft, in the same vein as the isle’s solitary voices, all singing against the grain – the playfulness of Kevin Ayers; the grace of Vashti Bunyan; the rhapsody of Robert Wyatt; the melancholy of Epic Soundtracks; the revelations of Bill Fay. It’s an album of joyous melody and evocative poetry, of community and intimacy.
The nine songs on Resin Pockets were recorded both indoors and outdoors, in everyday spaces. Matt predominantly performed the album, in collaboration with his brother Sam on drums, tambourine and ‘lookout’, though some other familiar faces appear, too: Kate Wright of Movietone is part of the evening chorus that closes “Roman Roads”; Lisa Brook and Michal William of Headfall are there, too, huffing away on melodicas.
Jones’s community, of course, crested the wave of home-recorded pop and experiment that erupted in Bristol during the mid-to-late 1990s. Centred, to some degree, around Bristol’s Revolver Records, a store recently hymned by author Richard King in his elegiac Original Rockers, the key operatives of this loose ‘scene’ – flying saucer attack, Movietone, Third Eye Foundation, Amp, Foehn, most of whom released records on King’s independent label, Planet – made a virtue of necessity, recording in bedsits, on four-tracks, onto cassettes, with often improvised and jerry-rigged equipment. It was unassuming music that offered exploratory listeners a quiet revolution. Crescent were central to this scene, releasing some of its finest records, from the thorny thickets of noise-rock on their debut, 1996’s Now, to the murky dub experiments of 1997’s Electronic Sound Constructions, through to the distressed, evocative song surfaces of 2003’s By The Roads & The Fields and 2007’s Little Waves.
There’s an ‘intimate immensity’ to the album: it’s close in your ear, as though you’re sharing the room with Jones as he plays, and yet the outdoors recording grounds the album in the natural world, too. Jones talks about the effect of having passers-by as incidental audiences, of engaging with the immediate environment and the “tiny coincidences of sound”. “A lot of this album seems to be looking back, doesn’t it?”, says Jones himself of the new album. This is the essence of Resin Pockets: album as a work of memory and remembering, travail de mémoire, but also album as a memoir, casting a glance across several decades of lived experience.