This month marks the release of The Wave Pictures newest full-length album, Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon. With the highly productive Dave Tattersall at the helm, The Wave Pictures continue their creative streak, having made at least one album every year since settling in London in 2006.
The trio had the honour of having this album co-written and produced by one of their all-time heroes: poet, artist and musician Billy Childish. Great Big Flamingo was created entirely using Childish’s equipment, much of which dates back to the 1960s, and recorded live with few overdubs, giving it a rough and raw garage-style sound. On certain tracks like Katie, which sports a driving bass groove, Childish’s 60s-style influence is clearly evident.
Tattersall has stated that the making of this record was the most fun they’ve ever had as a band, and their enjoyment certainly shows. Great Big Flamingo is an uplifting and immensely enjoyable series of short, simple songs that capture the joyous atmosphere in which they appear to have recorded.
The opening title track is immediately likeable with its sweet sing-along chorus and Tattersall’s surreal lyricism. While the track features Childish accompanying on guitar, it is the impressive solo from Tattersall that helps to justify BBC Radio’s Marc Riley dubbing him the greatest guitar player of his generation. At only two and a half minutes long, Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon is only a brief insight into the album to come, but sets listeners up well for the dozen jubilant following tracks.
Through an inspired manipulation of space and volume The Wave Pictures tone down the pace for At Dusk You Took Down The Blinds. The lyrics are littered with beautiful imagery that is gently accompanied by a psychedelic yet peaceful guitar melody. This pace then picks up again for the feel-good All The Birds Lined Up Dot Dot Dot.
Midway through the record the trio surprise with back-to-back Credence Clearwater Revival Covers. Both have been made so much the band’s own, however, that they are almost unrecognisable. The first, Sinister Purpose, is unique for the bands very loose interpretation of the original vocal melody and has been made danceable with a hooky guitar line reminiscent to 70s rockers, Television. Following is the starkly contrasting Green River. Here the band have slowed it down to a bluesy vibe, with Tattersall stylishly delivering the vocals in a baritone drool.
Overall, their fourteenth studio album is a prolific achievement and immensely listenable. There is an inspired chemistry in the pairing of The Wave Pictures with Billy Childish, and a tangible joy that has come from this union resonates throughout the album. Whether you’ve been with them throughout their career or are only just learning of The Wave Pictures, Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon is certain to be an uplifting and inspiring listen.