Thursday, 23 April 2009

Conor Documentary: One of a Kind- The Story of the Mystic Valley Band

I'll never forget my crushing sense of disappointment when I bought the Evening with Saddle Creek DVD; how can a DVD with The Faint, Cursive, Rilo Kiley and Bright Eyes on be so bloody boring? But it was. Too much dull waffle. It's weird when one of your biggest idols is actually not that charismatic; yet his music says everything.
I'm not the biggest champion of Conor and his Mystic Valley Band (come on, have you ever met anyone who is?) but I would die for the merest sprinkle of Bright Eyes stardust.
So I sat down to watch this documentary with trepidation. But hey, this documentary is free, so it would be churlish to complain anyway. Still, I'm sure it won't stop me.
I don't hate the Conor solo album, I think Eagle on a Pole, Lenders in the Temple and Milk Thistle are beautiful (oh, and Breezy). But I really can't abide that country guitar sound. I swear the more country he gets, the less shouting he does. And the fact he lets all of them sing does my head in. They are not worthy! Aw, he doesn't want them to sit on the sidelines. But not everyone can be a lead singer, can they? They don't let the duff ones at the back of Coldplay do their own songs, do they (they probably do actually, like when Take That lets Howard Donald have a go).
Five minutes in and the documentary just appeared to be songs, and clips of photos, which suited me to be honest, I don't really care about the studio, or the hi-hat, or how they all get along so well.
Oh. And so it begins. The banal chatter. One of them is sorely lacking a neck and appears to have a serious dental problem. I only like the one who plays the violin and who's in Bright Eyes and likes playing 'I Believe in Symmetry.' His name will come to me eventually. No, NOT Mike Mogis. Nick!
There's another one who's like a faux Conor. But what's the point when you have the real one there?
OMG. Ill-advised Conor beard. When I watched Louis the other night, ALL the sex offenders had beards. Beards are NEVER good. Come on Conor, you're already making your music tedious, don't go ugly too. Give us a rock to cling to. I know it's hard work being so pretty and everything, and being a heart-throb as well as a genius, but it could be worse; at least you don't have to get up early and suffer through failed performance reviews like in my miserable life. Those sideburns later on were just about acceptable, I suppose.
What is that bloody track with the didgeridoo on? It's interminable. Conor's ad libs between songs aren't much cop, either. Oh my god, and when he does that 'check, check, check' thing. It's as bad as Morrissey's intro tapes. Just play the fucking tunes! In fact, play ONLY the tunes I want to hear! Right?
It was nice seeing Conor shed a tear when Obama won the election.
So the whole band wrote songs called 'Eagle on a Pole'? That must be disappointing when you go see them and hear one of the crappy ones.
This documentary is worth a look but only if you're a diehard fan. Oh and download it if you can. The streaming made my eyes hurt and I kept having to pause it so it could catch up which was a bit of a rigmarole. But the version I downloaded first didn't work. Painful!
Conor said his approach to making music has changed from 5 or 10 years ago and hopefully it will change again in the future. I hope so too, I hope he becomes adventurous again, and not so plodding. He's my age!
I'm looking forward to the album, of course (except the cameos), but I'm still left wishing Conor would just put on some shoulderpads, team up with Patrick Wolf and do some thrash-techno. Is that too much to ask, as Morrissey once warbled in a very mediocre song. And how apt.
Oh and at the end, it turned out it was just one big advert, like in Starship Troopers.


Anonymous said...

Imagine my surprise when I found out that I'm doing lead vocals on the next single. It's gonna be country-rap with a kind of distinct East Anglian feel.

Spencer Rose said...

Billy Ray Cyrus is providing the parp-parp trombone. It's very moving.