Sunday, May 16, 2010
Graeme Jefferies - Messages for the Cakekitchen (1988)
"On Messages for the Cakekitchen, released by Ajax Records, the solo artistry of New Zealand's Graeme Jefferies is documented during the period after the demise of This Kind of Punishment - a heralded New Zealand band that included Graeme's older brother Peter. These messages, recorded on four-track between 1986-87 and released on Flying Nun in 1988, are the link between TKP and Graeme Jefferies' current band the Cakekitchen. Full of acoustic and electric guitars, cymbals crashing and drum kits, violas and Jefferies' low-end larynx rumble, Messages is close to a blueprint for the two Cakekitchen releases which followed, but even more eccentric. It's a vibrantly chaotic vision of Bowie meets Bauhaus without the roll. It's Graeme's artistic struggle captured at a pivotal moment in a recording career that began back in 1981 (i.e., 'The Simple Tapestry of Fate,' the self questioning of 'The Cardhouse' and 'Is the Timing Wrong?') Sorely overlooked? As usual … 'The Simple Tapestry of Fate'is stunning. The chorus-less song phrasing is fragmented and sprawled on top of a naked acoustic guitar: 'Wake up, stumble, fall, draw the blinds... We step into the coffee houses, all run dry...' The thick acoustic plays arpeggios to the sound of rain falling in the background while a piano slithers into the mix. Messages also features minimal electric guitar work on the spacey 'All the Colours Run Dry,' and vocals by his then-girlfriend Maxine Fleming on the folky 'Prisoner of a Single Passion'(folky as folk can be with metallic clunking noises, viola, sporadic bursts of electric et al. tossed in), and mood galore from the schizophrenic electric guitar and tambourine shaking in 'If the Moon Dies.'
A very rewarding glimpse at an overlooked genius - a songwriter with the ability to seduce you into acidic Nick Drake day dreams." - Michael Peters