Opener 'Put Your Collar Up' announces the album's arrival with strong strings and horns, evolving into suite of skewed sounds, whilst 'Is History' kicks off with a miltary-esque drum beat - the kind of song that you would have sung at school, and is just as immediate as it bounds along with understated confidence. At the other end of the spectrum, 'Great Life' is a reflective tune. Its repeated assertion that "I want a great life" is a mantra that resonates with the title of debut album Make Lists, Do Something.
Blissful, but never spaced out, the album operates within boundaries, bouncing off them in all angles as it ponders hazy memories or dreams of the future. Situated somewhere between magic and melancholy, it is fully DIY with a deliberate lo-fi edge; an incredibly organic record. Character abounds on this album, but takes multiple forms, from the gentle plinky keys on 'Warning Sign' to the whoozy vocals of 'Lanes', the likes of which was last heard on an Air album.
Exploring multiple textures and emotions in only thirty minutes without sounding too skittish and uncommitted is not easy, but on this album it's looped together with perfect authenticity. Like the best magic, its power is not easily explained, and Images Rolling is all the more charming for it.
The single which opens the album, ‘Put Your Collar Up’, is probably the most instantly gratifying thing that Rigelsford has put to tape, its propulsive rhythm, giant stride of a chorus and Seventies brass-and-strings-breakdown seemingly pulled direct from Gruff Rhys’ personal stash.
Elsewhere, ‘Is History’ adds a psychedelic tinge to proceedings - ghostly harmonies gathering round stabs of organ and a stomping beat - while ‘Warning Sign’ achieves the rare feat of sounding like a Sigur Ros song but also having a discernible melody, warm brass and spaced-out keyboards adding a wonderfully blissful air. That it also sounds noticeably like the aforementioned Jim Noir is also worth a mention.
Noir was a great white hope for Manchester a few years ago, soundtracking a whole summer after a couple of his tracks featured on World Cup TV adverts. However, he’s never really made the step up to wider public consciousness, a fate that seems to befall many of those bearded types practicing this particular strand of Manchester music.
That’s a fate that you hope won’t also befall the man known as Magic Arm, but his gentle vocals and laid-back pace can occasionally allow a track or two to slip by without garnering much attention. However, Images Rolling is a definite step up in consistency compared to his debut, and will be well-suited as a soundtrack to the famous Manchester sunshine, whenever it remembers to make an appearance.
(Drowned In Sound)
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