Sunday 2 September 2012
The Bowles "Two Serious Men"
It may have been on the BBC4 documentary about the Belle Epoque photographs of Jacques Henri Lartigue that I heard the line (paraphrasing), "Photography is the only art form where one can accidentally create a masterpiece". At the time it seemed like an astute comment but since then songs like "Two Serious Men" by the short-lived Australian group The Bowles have made me think otherwise. It sounds like they just inserted a TDK D90 into a tape recorder, hit record and slightly nervously, slightly tentatively started to play. Somehow, though, what they produced is incredibly affecting and, I would contend, a masterpiece. The fidelity may be low and there may be a bunch of mistakes left in but the sombre atmosphere and wobbly vocals combine with the lonely guitar line to produce one of the finest slices of home recording I've heard since the heady days of Lou Barlow's Sentridoh or early Hood. It's the first track on the b-side of a recent 7" on Kye Records which isn't cheap at around £10 but, once I had heard it, I couldn't live without it. I'm going to file it next to those breathtaking early Movietone singles.