Album Reviews

How To Cure Dyslexia – The Tempo Of Bicycles & Boats

(Dyslexia Music) UK release date: 12 February 2007

Initially things don’t look promising for the winsomely titled How To Cure Dyslexia. Their debut album The Tempo of Bicycles and Boats was recorded in an art gallery open to the general public who could – hey – witness the birth of how an album is brought into existence. So far, so pretentious. Which would normally bring to mind expectations of tedious drones, prissy embellishments or navel-gazing sketches of willfully unlistenable drivel. Thankfully expectations can bugger off.

So what do you get from opening up the process of making an album in an art gallery? Well, not that you’d notice ‘the public’ booing, hissing or cheering from the sidelines – they are there in barely audible ‘triangle contributions’ – you get one winsome album of woozy ‘non-folk’ that calls to mind The Lilac Time,Belle and Sebastian, Syd Barrett or a whole host of wordy, wry and acoustic commentators that live down in the grubby indecisions of the heart and not in some cobwebbed ivory tower. Damn those clever-clogs!

Close Your Eyes with its funereal drum, melodica, twinkly descending chord keyboards and sweet girl-boy harmonies could be some euro-pop treasure from the ’60s that Saint Etienne would champion. It is a taster of the songwriting contained within, where principle Dyslexic, David Miller peppers his pretty off-the-wall melodies with stepping-stone vocals full of loathing.

Little Else, with its distinctly-English intonations, is both charmingly na�ve and endearing and serves as the albums key song. Full of gentle parklife observations of “the gay man walks his little dog, the old folk like to chat about their illnesses” are countered by the bittersweet regret of “not asking you to marry me”.

Humour’s Morrissey-wannabe lyrics as done by early Mockney Bowie come over as bittersweet but clever, like a less smug Divine Comedy as it documents the silent gulf opening between a couple of differing tastes, but done in such adoring tones.

Its clip-clopping rhythms of the teacup whimsy psychedelia echo a Syd Barrett hooked on sweet tea and crosswords rather than acid-fried dribblings. It also seems hooked on getting caught looking at muck on the computer as Computer guiltily holds it hands up in a skittish confessional of embarrassment.

The albums two instrumentals Afternoon and Around The Houses bear distinct signs of inbreeding with the former bearing a more indie scowl in its shimmers along on a sparse fagged-out underbelly, while the latter could be its jazzier twin.

The nature of relationships is the album’s key theme with the only spoilers being All At Sea which plods along somewhat clumsily about a daydreaming relationship and Summer’s Over stumbles the speed of things with a melody that whines and tales of seasonal relationships.

My Setting Sun closes things off with a cheeky reprise that calls to mind Dream A Little Dream of Me with its nostalgic plucked ukulele coming over as a peace sign from all the domestic warfare that took place before. It is, as Miller croons full of the feeling of “a gentle peace surrounds me” before lurching into a more spirited reprise of handclaps and slapdash.

A charming curio from a novel approach. But for that name? Put me down for a t-shirt and an invite to the next album session!

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How To Cure Dyslexia – The Tempo Of Bicycles & Boats