Album: Green Peppers

Joni's Garden, NEON TETRA
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The Independent Culture

The latest faint ripple from the Scots-based C86 scene of the mid-Eighties arrives courtesy of Green Peppers' Joni's Garden, a set of 11 songs written and arranged by the former Soup Dragons guitarist Jim McCulloch. The mild harmonies of the title track set out the Peppers' stall with a diffident but curiously engaging sound, etched in deceptively evocative chord-changes. "Green", which follows, has something of the contemplative sophistication of Simon & Garfunkel's "Old Friends", in which subtle wisps of clarinet underscore the acoustic guitars as McCulloch muses upon karma: "And all that you do will come back to haunt you without too much persuading". The closest modern equivalent would probably be the Scandinavian duo Kings of Convenience - there's the same sense of small, personal matters addressed with unimposing intelligence - a feeling accentuated on the two songs for which Isobel Campbell (formerly of Belle & Sebastian) provides lead vocals. There's an Astrud Gilberto tropicalis

The latest faint ripple from the Scots-based C86 scene of the mid-Eighties arrives courtesy of Green Peppers' Joni's Garden, a set of 11 songs written and arranged by the former Soup Dragons guitarist Jim McCulloch. The mild harmonies of the title track set out the Peppers' stall with a diffident but curiously engaging sound, etched in deceptively evocative chord-changes. "Green", which follows, has something of the contemplative sophistication of Simon & Garfunkel's "Old Friends", in which subtle wisps of clarinet underscore the acoustic guitars as McCulloch muses upon karma: "And all that you do will come back to haunt you without too much persuading". The closest modern equivalent would probably be the Scandinavian duo Kings of Convenience - there's the same sense of small, personal matters addressed with unimposing intelligence - a feeling accentuated on the two songs for which Isobel Campbell (formerly of Belle & Sebastian) provides lead vocals. There's an Astrud Gilberto tropicalismo feel to the way her murmured intimacies in "The Dreamer" lounge coolly against the guitar and piano setting, while elsewhere, McCulloch's hippie-ish attitudes are well represented in "It's Nothing" and "If I Gave It All Away".

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