The Shoebox of Delights

Regular readers will remember that some time ago I was given a box of CD’s by my Dad. These were CDs that I left in a box in his house in 1998 when I graduated from university and moved to Devon. Every week I picked one at random and wrote about the music, some of this music was quite good, some was terrible.

Well, brace yourself, because at the weekend, I found another box. It wasn’t at my Dads, it was in my own house. In the loft. There is a story behind this box, if you will indulge me….

Mrs S-WC asked me to go in the loft and move some bits and pieces and to bring down a few other items that we were taking to the charity shop and the tip, domestic life is bliss in S-WC towers. So up in the loft I went, I found the items that were being thrown out, a pink surfboard (not mine or for that matter Mrs S-WC’s), a hoover box full of small pieces of foam (no idea), a piece of spare carpet (not the same colour as the rest of the carpet in the house), and some books, ignored baby toys and clothes for the charity shop. I moved them one by one towards the loft hatch.

Now, all my CDs are loving stored in waterproof, childproof, bombproof, dampproof, and animalproof boxes in the loft, there are quite a few of them (far less than there used to be, but a lot never the less) and I pretty much know what is in each box. Underneath or behind all the stuff that I had just moved was a shoebox, (Duffs Shoes, and for the record I have never owned a pair of Duffs Shoes) inside this shoebox was roughly 35 CD’s.

I scratched my head. Not because I was perplexed but I thought a spider fell on it about ten minutes ago and I’ve been jumping at the slightest itch ever since.  But this was strange…..I went over to the CD boxes, and opened up one of them, and where these CDs should have been were four books. About cats. Now our cat, died about two years ago from Kidney failure, and it was a horrible thing to see and to go through and each of these books was about caring for a terminally ill pussycat. Mrs S-WC took the death of the cat very badly, so I do the right thing, I leave the books where they are and shut the box lid.

But strangely Mrs S-WC chose the CD Box full of the CDs that I have not yet got round to converting to mp3 – she couldn’t have possibly known this, so I take the box downstairs and put it to one side. I make Mrs S-WC a cup of tea and pull a CD out…..

‘The Magic Treehouse’ Ooberman is, as you expect by the name of both the band and the album, a bit twee. They are a band with strong indie, folk and progressive tendencies that sadly split in 2003 after their second album ‘Hey Petrunko!’ failed dismally. I think they might have since reformed but I may wrong in with that.

Their debut album was the ‘The Magic Treehouse’ and the opening line of the entire album is ‘A star in heaven knows my name’ and it kind of sets the tone. If you don’t mind a little (ok a lot) tweeness in your music, then Ooberman are for you. If you own even one Slipknot record then its probably not for you. The Magic Treehouse is so twee it is dressed in pastel colours and wearing sandals.

They hailed from Bradford originally but didn’t really gel as a band until they moved to Liverpool and started releasing records in the late nineties. I first heard Ooberman when I was sitting in an office at work and Jo Whiley played ‘Shorely Wall’. In 1998 it was named Single of the Year by the Times Newspaper. It is that kind of song, catchy, adorably sweet and contains this spoken word bit at the end by Sophie Churney the band’s keyboard player in which I’m pretty sure she is close to tears.

Trust me if you haven’t heard this before it will be all over you from the first second you hear it. Seriously if you don’t think this in an incredible piece of pop music then you were born with something missing.

mp3 : Ooberman – Shorley Wall

I’m guessing that Ooberman’s closest musical peers would be Belle and Sebastian in that they rarely gave interviews and live shows were few and far between – but they kept in touch with their fans through their Internet site and as such grew an audience that were devoted and dedicated. Personally after listening to it I think its sounds like it comes from the same asylum for the musical insane as Gorkys Zygotic Mynci. Either way its all a bit lovely and gorgeous.

mp3 : Ooberman – Sugar Bum
(this was the bands first record released on Graham Coxon‘s Transcopic Label)

mp3 : Ooberman – Blossoms Falling
(The bands first Top 40 record on Independiente)

mp3 : Ooberman – Tears from A Willow
(The follow up single – it reached number 62)

mp3 : Ooberman – Roll Me in Cotton
(A soppy ballad from the album – perhaps the dictionary definition of ‘Twee’)

So – one down 34 to go. Actually 28 to go, 6 were compilation albums from the NME so I’ve put those to one side (one had So Solid Crew on it and we don’t need to hear that). I’ve numbered each one, some are singles, some are albums. Pick me a number folks…………….