Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Herman Dune – On A Saturday

It’s a hit in France, but the video still reps Leeds hard…


Dave Moore: You know that old “Simpsons” where Lisa goes to Washington and there are a bunch of protesters in front of the White House with signs that say “Things Are Fine” and “No Complaints Here”? It’s like that but not funny.

Edward Okulicz: Lo-fi but with sprightly touches of brass makes for fine background music, but the singing is a little disconnected (not quite lobotomised) and unfeeling for my tastes. I’ve always thought Herman Dune could change the lyrics from happy ones to sad ones and vice-versa and nobody would notice.

Briony Edwards: Twee vocals about twee women, in that distinctive “I’m talking but I’m really singing!” style, and a chorus that sounds exactly like every other one he has ever written. The harmonies are pretty, and the guitar sound works beautifully with the gentle horns which are sort of lingering in the background, which certainly gives it plus points, and the outro is interesting, with so many different sounds layered on top of each other. Still, my overall opinion continues to err towards “meh”, and if you’ve ever heard anything else by Herman Dune, then you’ll be hearing nothing new here.

Alex Macpherson: It’s amazing how much difference minor details can make. Watching this video of “On A Saturday”, I was charmed despite its twee, ramshackle aesthetic: it seemed to have an expansiveness to it, a scope beyond the unassuming vocal and lyrical minutiae. Turns out the power was mostly in the user-added wave sounds lending the song a relaxed beach vibe absent in the proper version, which – despite the rather terrific oompahing brass line – is just too insular to really engage.

Ian Mathers: Herman Dune seem to be trying to go for a kinder, gentler Mountain Goats feel, but instead of Darnielle’s fierce specificity we get parping horns and a Peter, Bjorn & John-style maudlin lovestruck narrative. I mean, I guess I’m happy for the dude, it sounds like he had a nice date, but nothing about “On a Saturday” makes me want to care. Romance is just as banal as evil, if you handle it wrong.

Michaelangelo Matos: This strikes me as a sort of cross between the Mountain Goats (plain, unpretty voice — Laura Sinagra calls John Darnielle’s “pointy,” which is about right here — and strumming-plus arrangement) and Jens Lekman (kinda cutesy). I like both of them a lot, but this I’m not so hot on — pleasant, but not especially memorable.

David Raposa: A genteel & tasteful morsel of sub-Mountain-Goatsy quivery twaddle, with an awkward observational bent in the words that the Go-Betweens (among many, many others) scared straight a long time ago. As with most indie-foppish stuff, the trumpets are nice, but I’d like it a whole lot more if the singer showed a little more personality and confidence, or at least didn’t sound like he was about to lose his lunch from nerves.

Tom Ewing: Mystifying example of how to combine a bunch of horrible things – no-range singing, trombones, pitty-patty rhythms, self-conscious lyrics – in such a way as to seem not only charming but sensible. (OK, trombones aren’t horrible per se, but they’re not a dealmaker either.) The guy doesn’t have the charisma of David Thomas, but there’s something doggedly Ubu-ish about this parping, rickety, adenoidal contraption I respond to despite myself.

Additional Scores

Jonathan Bradley: [7]
Martin Skidmore: [3]

7 Responses to “Herman Dune – On A Saturday”

  1. We really should’ve namechecked the Mountain Goats.

  2. I’m just glad I wasn’t the only one.

  3. I did too (and Jens Lekman) but it got edited out, presumably because to have left it in would have been taking the piss.

  4. My Mountain Goats reference was (mercifully) cut. It’s quite unavoidable.

  5. My review was a Mountain Goats reference. Period.

  6. I have never heard the Mountain Goats!

  7. I have never heard them either, and hence no reference was made. :)