Continuing from ‘Swords’, their brilliant dada road-movie debut on Skint Records, ‘Attic Thieves’ confirms Ralfe Band a special place as one of England’s most original, melodic and richly poetic bands.
Inside its old mirrored room you will find Oly Ralfe’s latest almanac of twelve richly varied songs and instrumentals. The recordings here range from the beautifully personal to the eerily comic, with song lyrics peppered with mysterious alter-egos, all reflecting an inventive band journeying across a dreaming landscape uniquely Ralfe Band’s.
Attic Thieves was created by Oly Ralfe and his music brother Andrew Mitchell. Oly sings, plays upright piano, organ, accordion and Spanish guitar. From Mitchell emanate beatnik drums, scattershot percussion, electric guitar and arrangements borne from a love of great rhythm masters from Django Reinhardt to The Ramones. Other brigands contributing to the sound of Attic Thieves include Messrs Garo Nahoulakian on electric guitar, double bassist Ben Nicholls, Joe Bennett on violin and trumpet, and Rowland Prytherch, mandolin, bass and wayward trombone.
The eclectic Mr Ralfe doesn’t just content himself with the music; he is the artist behind the band’s artwork and videos. Oly is also the director behind the award-winning film The Ballad of AJ Weberman – the movie is a feature documentary about the New York odd-ball and infamous stalker of the mighty Bob Dylan. The film premiered at Slamdance Film Festival 2007 and won the Raindance Award at the British Independent Film Awards. In addition to all this Oly is an occasional contributor of songs and cameos to the Mighty Boosh radio and TV shows. Handwritten poems and drawings by Oly will feature in the new Mighty Boosh book, published this Autumn.
Back to the music – Attic Thieves announces itself with a blackly comic, raucous blues anthem ‘Open Eye’, which follows with the swinging gothic tale ‘Stumble’, replete with harpsichord and fairground organ. Moving forward, the mood quietly intensifies with ‘Big Head’ a spine tingling, hypnotizing instrumental. We now encounter the grand ramble of ‘Mirror Face’ which was inspired by crumbling Palermo.
"Swords" is Ralfe Band debut album. From Women Of Japan’s lifting waltz time melody, through the shuffling beats of Broken Teeth Song to the eerie free association of Bruno Mindhorn, Ralfe Band utilise guitar, piano, accordion, viola, mandolin, percussion and anything else he hand. Songs are peppered with coughs, cowbells and barking dogs, giving a wonderfully experimental feel to their music.