3rd: If we were to come down to London for a night out, where would you take us?
Max: to the police station.
I would rather enjoy the lack of sun somewhere other than London, but straight to the police station...that's a first! The Proper Ornaments became a band when Max Claps met James Hoares (also of Veronica Falls) in a vintage shop in Notting Hill, London. Max had to distract James so that his girlfriend could steal a pair of boots. James was working at the shop and was holding Up Tight, a book about The Velvet Underground, so naturally they hit it off! From that moment on the duo began playing together. In a way, we were not so far from the police station after all eh? Fate?
The début album Wooden Head was release last year to positive noises around the indie world. Pitchfork gave it a steady 7.0 and indeed it merits this. What you can hear on this record is The Proper Ornaments' rendition of what happened to music over the last 60 years. They have been “gulping down” great music so to speak, to the point where Wooden Head is the very essence of what music should sound like, and more importantly what music will sound like in the future. Take Tire Me Out, it's the sound of Real Estate covering a Jesus And Mary Chain Darkland-era track. Or Now I Understand, an ode to Joy Division clashing against the sweet sounds of Super Fury Animals.
"The sound as if the world was coming to a catastrophic end".
But The Proper Ornaments do have a knack for imaginative sounding melodies, beautiful harmonies and the very great ability to churn out brilliant guitar pop tunes. Though when you carefully listen to their sound, I mean when you really take a step back and listen, you slowly start to pick out all of their influences. The beauty is, it's not so obvious. Yes we can hear a 60's magnetism, 80's Kraut-rock and 90's indie. But like a cheeky guilty pleasure it all comes together in one oddly well-fitted mash. In the same vein as Woods, Real Estate or Twerps, The Proper Ornaments have managed to find their within this anthology of sound, and place themselves among their contemporaries and influences with a great deal of sincerity.
“We didn't get as far as playing sitar yet, but the new recordings are very different from the ones before. If you don't use guitar you start using other instruments, it makes it more interesting and less generic”.
With Max now also helping girlfriend and singer Isabel Spurgeon with her project Pinkflames (see, not just helping her steal boots!) the foundations of The Proper Ornaments' next record is well under way; good news all fans will be waiting for. It will be a busy summer ahead indeed!