86 Surf by Roddy Frame 2002
Genius is one of those labels that is bandied about a lot in terms of musicians . Of all the people i like there are 2 may be 3 that I'd happily use that description for . Paddy Mac , David Bowie (and that is more the ability to repeatedly surround himself with the right people at the right time) and Roddy Frame. the fact he was writing the songs he was and playing guitar the way he was at 16/17 is astounding.
However, number 86 comes from a lot later in his career when he had already kissed goodbye to a chart return. Surf is a collection of break up acoustic songs that features voice and acoustic guitar.
Sonic variation is not what this is about and the whole thing would have faded into blandness if the melodies had not been as strong as they are. Such a stripped down approach lets the songs breathe and brings the lyrics into even sharper focus. The whole thing feels immensely personal , reinforced by the lack of contributors.
My favourite song on the lp is Over You which typifies a more direct approachch to the lyrics on Surf. in this one the bumping into an ex
"Heard you were around sw3
talking about how you were over me"
For some people the narrowness of sound and style won't make this everyone's choice , but for song by song it is the strongest of the three lps he has recorded under his own name
If life was like the songs,
I'd surf across the curved horizon
and forget her and be gone
Surf can go for silly money but there are some reasonably priced second hand copies here