“Love the record! Way to be! Emotionally expansive, tough and pretty…honest but WORTH IT!”
That’s a review to write home about, by any standard, and from anyone.
That it arrived unsolicited from one of the musical firmaments most eclectic and singular of wizards, Evan Dando: the fact that it was then closely followed by an impromptu video message from a nameless, but perfect Pacific beach, inviting Alex Lipinski to “come fishing” and it should be immediately clear that this isn’t ‘same old, same old’.
Liam Gallagher is a fan, which resulted in Alex belting out Elvis standards within the unlikely
domesticity of Liam’s own North London kitchen, in a surreal battle of anthems; the voice of a generation responding with a heartfelt rendition of ‘Acquiesce’ much to the amusement of Bonehead, who just happened to be there because he and Lipinski just happened to be in the middle of the critically acclaimed ‘Phoney’s & The Freaks’ collaboration, which saw them perform live together from Rome to Los Angeles.
His last album, the self-titled ‘Alex’ was produced by The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe in Berlin. Hailed by Newcombe as “a young man worth my time and efforts” and also observing that “make no mistake, these songs have all the qualities of timeless music”.
Again, this is not ‘same old, same old’.
No coincidence then that for ‘For Everything Under the Sun’, his soon to be released third album, Lipinski was sought out by Wolf Alice & Elvis Costello producer Michael Smith who had the same desire as Anton to work with a voice that Rock & Reel magazine describes as “channelling the best tones of Lennon and Orbison and makes them his own”, and songs which BBC Radio 6 legend Tom Robinson declares “sweep you up and carry you along.
“The whole creation of this record has felt somewhat like a rebirth, creatively speaking. I can’t deny the part that the last year or so has played: in that I have been forced to completely reappraise what’s important to me. These songs have mortality running through the heart of them. From a writer’s point of view this record is honest, direct, and certainly the strongest set of songs I’ve written”.
From the album’s crisp percussive opening ‘For Everything Under the Sun’ reveals itself as a melting pot of ‘Then’ liberally laced with the very finest examples of ‘Now’. This record, like everything Alex creates, wears a broken blue heart on its sleeve. Elements of The Byrds sun-soakedjangle sit teasingly across the melodic craftsmanship of Abbey Road era Beatles: the whole married to glistening harmonies which would not be out of place on Pet Sounds.
Alex doesn’t attempt to disguise where this record comes from, or where his personal flag is planted: but somehow it remains a 21st century thing – a warm, impassioned letter of thanks to musical legacy and yet, ultimately, something altogether his own.
This is a truly articulate piece of work, from a songwriter who has served his apprenticeship. A lot of miles covered in what he himself acknowledges has been the only choice he ever had. To create. A journey which started as a schoolkid, refusing to be driven to class because by walking it left more time listening, via Walkman, to whichever CD was speaking to him in the moment, driving him to create moments of his own.
Alex argues self-deprecatingly that as complete and holistic as this record is, he “doesn’t have a Brian Wilson brain”. Perhaps not, in truth only Brian Wilson does, but the same authenticity, gift for melody and for harmony, is there.
A telling of stories and the pulling together of ephemeral things.
The hard work has been years in the getting done. All you have to do now – is listen…
Catch Alex Lipinski live at these dates: