First things first: can we talk about Amateur Best's hair? I'm going to anyway because LOOK. AT. THAT. BOUFF. The short back and sides is a thing of the past! Let your follicles free, Joe Flory, let them free. Oh I see you already have. In any case, enough about his coif (can I rub my face in it?), let's talk about Amateur Best: The Return. The Birmingham-based singer and multi-instrumentalist released his first LP, No Thrills, back in 2013, and now is a good time to re-aquaint yourself with its highlights—like the sax-squelched, melancholic crackle of "Too Much," and the skewed pop of "Pleased."
Not to dwell too much on old stuff but No Thrills is wildly underrated, which makes it all the more exciting that we have his first new song—"Marizpan"—premiering below. It's the first song from his new album, The Gleaners, out on 10.2 via Brille Records. Yay! Apart from being desert that's popular in Holland, "Marizpan" is a splendid sonic exploration that melds synth-pop, 2-step, and Flory's forlorn yet oddly upbeat tones to create a banger that's cool as an ice cube sliding down your spine. Do you like Metronomy? Do you like Rudi Zygadlo? Well you should. Get involved. Also did you know Flory is a sax man? Well he ups the awesome here by throwing in a sax at the halfway point. More of this!
Apparently The Gleaners pulls from influences as varied as Michael Nyman, David Sylvian, and Ryuchi Sakamoto.
“There are moments on this album where I feel like the music, lyrics, and production just gel completely,” explains Flory. “With the way I make music—which is to do everything at the same time, and everything alone—getting that moment of total clarity in lyrics, melody, and production is quite a unique feeling, and probably the reason I enjoy making music so much. I called it The Gleaners because it's my way of taking little snippets of all the stuff I like and reinterpreting it.”
All that alone chat being said, the album does include a collaboration with Chilly Gonzales (on the track "19"), and the Canadian producer and piano maestro also cropped up on his debut. Basically, when Flory's not making personal pop, he's drumming for Chilly Gonzales & the Kaiser Quartett on tour. But let's just close this out by agreeing "Marzipan" is fucking fantastic.
Kim Taylor Bennett is very excited about both AB's hair and this record. She's on Twitter.