The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Looking for the light – THE PROPER ORNAMENTS: Song for John Lennon (Single, 2019; Tapete Records)

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Una cierta búsqueda de la luz, una claridad algo mayor en su sonido, incluso un espectro sonoro algo ampliado aparece sugerido en este sencillo de adelanto de los londinenses THE PROPER ORNAMENTS. Su próximo trabajo se publicará el 5 de abril.


25 enero, 2019 Posted by | The Proper Ornaments | Deja un comentario

Fixing a Hole – THE PROPER ORNAMENTS: Foxhole (Tough Love Records, 2017)


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THE PROPER ORNAMENTS no han perdido su gusto por el Pop de raigambre sesentera en este segundo trabajo: Foxhole. Quizás por momentos se relajen algo y tiren hacia un lado más sosegado con ese empleo de pianos y medios tiempos que acompaña a una buena parte de los cortes; pero continúan con sus influencias velvetianas/byrdsianas/psicodélicas en otro buen puñado de canciones como Cremated (Blow away), Back pages, 1969 o I know you know, con lo que damos por bien empleado el esfuerzo creativo de este Foxhole.

“Listening to the calm and steady indie pop of the Proper Ornaments‘ second album, one would never suspect the struggle and turmoil that went into its creation. After releasing their excellent 2014 albumWooden Head, the two guys leading the band, James Hoare and Max Oscarnold, pursued other musical venues, Hoare with Ultimate Painting, Oscarnold as a member of TOY. When they got back together to work on another album, they enlisted drummer Robert Syme and bassist Daniel Nellis from their live lineup and headed into the studio. After finishing work on another batch of quietly jangly and peacefully autumnal tracks, they realized the tape machine had malfunctioned somewhere along the way and left the songs warped and unusable. The setback put a strain on the members’ relationship and they went their separate ways for a time before decamping to Hoare‘s home studio to begin work again. The resulting tracks show none of the underlying strain or unpleasantness; instead, Foxhole is the kind of record that spreads out of the speakers like a warm wave of melancholy. The hushed voices, sweetly sung harmonies, quietly interlocking guitars, and gently rollicking tempos never break the quietly sad mood as song after song hits the sweet spot of midtempo beauty. It’s a change fromWooden Head, which had a slightly more unpolished feel. This album has been burnished, waxed, smoothed, and buffed until its woody surfaces glow like a September sunset. Both Hoare andOscarnold bought pianos during the songwriting process, and though the songs rarely feature piano in their arrangements, many, like the almost painfully pretty “Memories,” have the feel of classic singer/songwriters like Harry Nilsson. Other tracks have the same relaxed lope as Ultimate Painting; some, like “Bridge by a Tunnel” and “Backpages,” would have been highlights on their most recent album. Others point toward new directions their collaboration could take. The strummy country-rock of the regretful “I Know You Know” and the acoustic ballad “Jeremy’s Song” show them stretching a bit in positive ways. It may have been born out of frustration and strife, but Foxhole‘s inherent peaceful beauty and restraint make it a perfect companion for moments of reflection” (All Music)

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18 enero, 2018 Posted by | The Proper Ornaments | Deja un comentario

The Proper Ornaments: Wooden Heart (Fortuna POP!, Slumberland, 2014)


El inicio de Gone ya nos presagia lo que va a ocurrir en Wooden Heart, el debut propiamente dicho del dúo de Londres The Proper Ornaments:
Ritmo cadencioso, tonos bajos y esa sensación tan cool del Noise hecho con las tripas. Max Claps y James Hoare (Veronica Falls) saben cómo manejar este negociado. Con Sun continúa el tono de medio tiempo, con ese aura de Pop Psicodélico que nos acompañará durante todo este placentero viaje (Don´t you want to know -What you´re going to be-, Tire me out, Always there, What I am to do, Summer´s goneYou´ll see
El primer sobresalto lo encontramos en Now I Understand, probablemente el corte que más me emociona del disco. Una preciosa canción con mensajes sombríos y un guitarreo Jangle que me pone los pelos de punta. Aquí respiro a sesentas y me encuentro a mis anchas. Esa compleja sencillez embriagadora juega a ganadora.

El mismo ambiente exhala Magazine, otro de los mejores cortes de Wooden Heart. Repetimos Jangle y repetimos voces angelicales que me recuerdan las mejores armonías de Turn! Turn! Turn!. Yo creo que algo de pasión por The Byrds, The Beatles y Velvet Underground les lleva a facturar su sonido (Step into the cold me recuerda mucho a la época Loaded de la banda de Lou Reed).
Y es en canciones como Stereolab (referencia inequívoca incluida) donde los Ornaments encuentran su sonido, no en vano, es el corte más semejante al soberbio Recalling, su aclamado y notorio primer sencillo.

El álbum se cierra con la inspiradísima y oscura You shouldn´t have gone, una epopeya épica en la que nos encontramos de bruces con Reed y los Reid, una canción soberbia que echa el cierre a un álbum perfecto para disfrutar a solas,  a ser posible sin demasiadas interferencias externas. Como bien dice su nota de prensa: “The Proper Ornaments demuestran que es posible facturar un álbum de pura perfección Pop. La novia de Max podría no haber robado aquellas botas, pero TPO van a robar tu corazón”. Me parece el epílogo perfecto para un perfecto álbum de Pop Psicodélico.

“Slumberland Records is pleased to bring you the debut album from London-based neo-psychedelic pop group The Proper Ornaments. Mining the rich territories of The Velvet Underground and The Beach Boys, Wooden Headfeatures fourteen thrillingly taut and melodic pop songs with a deep, dark undercurrent. Comprised of Argentinian Max Claps and James Hoare (also of Veronica Falls) – who both sing and write the songs – and joined by Daniel Nellis (bass) and Robert Syme (drums), the band have already shared stages with the likes of Real Estate, Woods, Crystal Stilts, Toy and Metronomy.
Maximo Claps arrived in London in 2008 on a one-way ticket from Buenos Aires, aided by former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Oldham had produced a record by Claps’ Argentinian band of the time but the group had fallen apart in a mess of drugs and acrimony and Claps’ family were attempting to intervene by sending him to a mental hospital. The only option seemed to be to flee the country. As Claps recalls, “The day before flying to the UK I got run over by a car and had to escape hospital in order to make it so I arrived with bandages and my head all stitched up.”
A few weeks later Max walked into the vintage clothes shop where James Hoare sat behind the counter reading a book on The Velvet Underground, and attempted to cause a diversion while his kleptomaniac girlfriend stole a pair of boots. “She didn’t steal them in the end,” says Max. “They weren’t her size”. However, the shop assistant and the would-be accomplice bonded over a mutual love of the Velvets, Love, Felt and West Coast pop and began writing together, taking their name from a song by the pioneering soft psych band The Free Design. In 2010 they released their first single, “Recalling”, following it up with a five-song EP for London label No Pain in Pop. In 2013 Lo Recordings released all their output to date on a collection titled Waiting for the Summer, followed by the single “First Step Out” in February 2014.
Their new album Wooden Head was recorded at a studio in Hackney, as well as at home in their old flat in Whitechapel on a broken 8-track reel-to-reel bought off eBay from an angry guy who threatened to shoot them and chop off their balls when they attempted to return it – a terrifying experience for a pair of skinny indie boys. Taking inspiration from Berlin-era Lou Reed, Jesus and Mary Chain’s Darklands, The Television Personalities and West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, the songs are breezy and easy on the ear, with sublime harmonies and chiming Byrdsian guitar, but with a darker twist and a pervasive air of melancholy. Stand-out tracks include the beautiful but sad “Summer’s Gone” (about mental illness), “Magazine” (an upbeat number written from the perspective of a bullet in the barrel of a gun) and “You’ll See” (about how when you die you’ll see everyone you know, all there lined up in a row).
With Wooden Head, The Proper Ornaments prove that it is still possible to create an album of pure pop perfection. Max’s girlfriend may not have stolen the boots, but The Proper Ornaments are about to steal your heart” (Press)

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15 enero, 2015 Posted by | The Proper Ornaments | Deja un comentario

The Proper Ornaments: Recalling/Imagination (Lo Recordings, Single, 2013)

The Proper Ornaments - Recalling [Single]

The Proper Ornaments continúan ofrenciéndonos buenas noticias. Como bien sabéis, soy un fan absoluto de todo lo que los chicos hayan publicado hasta ahora. Como sabéis, este verano publicaron Waiting for the summer, convenientemente digerido y degustado en TJB.
Para la ocasión, han regrabado y reproducido el que probablemente sea su mejor sencillo hasta la fecha: Recalling, uno de los mejores singles que servidor haya escuchado en los últimos años y mejor sencillo del año 2010 para TJB. Su maravillosa mezcla de The Velvet Underground vs. The Jesus and Mary Chain toma nueva forma y brío.

An uplifting squall of psychedelic fuzz, ‘Recalling’ perfectly distills the essence of bands like The Velvet Underground and The Jesus & Mary Chain and provides the perfect soundtrack to a carefree, endless summer.
Originally released on San Francisco’s Make A Mess Records, ‘Recalling’ has been completely re-recorded and produced by Charlie March (NZCA Lines) for this release”

Completa el single Imagination, una bella composición de tintes más sesenteros y melancólicos, que nos evoca el ambiente de Waiting for the summer. Sublime.

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9 noviembre, 2013 Posted by | The Proper Ornaments | Deja un comentario

The Proper Ornaments: Waiting for the summer (Lo Recordings, 2013)


James Hoare (Veronica Falls) y Max Claps son los artífices de uno de los dúos más carismáticos que pululan por la escena musical británica en los últimos tiempos. No son demasiado prolíficos, pero cada uno de los sencillos que han ido editando han sido convenientemente degustados por quien escribe como el maná para los dioses.
Waiting for the summer es su último single. Una perfecta conjunción de The Jesus and Mary Chain con The Velvet Underground (y no me invento la comparativa), una bellísima canción que mezcla sentimentalismo y melancolía a partes iguales.
Para acompañar, publican Candy, un precioso apunte de Pop barroco, muy al estilo de The Left Banke o de su banda “hermana”: Veronica Falls, otro de los grandes grupos del momento en el Reino Unido.
En definitiva, The Proper Ornaments han dado todos los pasos necesarios hasta la aparición de un larga duración, que al parecer lo hará a finales de verano. En The JangleBox daremos buena cuenta de ello, puesto que los chicos se han convertido en una de las referencias sonoras desde que Recalling cayó en nuestras manos, allá por 2010.

 a charming slice of hazy pop with a lovely guitar riff” NME

“Summer of Love 60s guitar pop, heavily inspired by The Byrds, Love and a re-imagined, happier Velvet Underground” – Loud & Quiet

 gentle and soft and lovely and nice” – DIY

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23 agosto, 2013 Posted by | The Proper Ornaments | 1 comentario

The Proper Ornaments: The Proper Ornaments (Ep, 2011)

The Proper Ornaments son básicamente un dúo que se formó de manera curiosa: Max Clapps y James Hoare se conocieron en los probadores de una tienda de moda vintage para chicas cuando uno de ellos acompañaba a su novia. Pronto se encontraron charlando de música y a la vez dándose cuenta de que compartían gustos.
Esos gustos se pueden resumir, esencialmente, en gentes como la Velvet Underground, The Byrds, el Underground y la Psicodelia de los sesenta…
Se ponen a trabajar rápidamente y amplían la formación a cuarteto, con la que registran el majestuoso y tremendo sencillo Recalling (TJB, 2010). James compagina sus labores con Veronica Falls, otro de los grupos señalados para el blog, y en 2011 editan este Ep de título homónimo.
Su sonido, como era de esperar, no se aleja demasiado de su primer single, y nos encontramos con himnos de Pop hipnótico como Who thought o Shinning bright, los dos mejores cortes del Ep. Especialmente la segunda, nos vuelve a transportar a las atmósferas lisérgicas de Recalling. Las acompañan Riverboat You still, donde el tono no baja demasiado y su ambiente es a medias entre cargado y Psicodélico. Cierra Drop off, un tema de tono algo más positivo, más en la onda Veronica Falls, con protagonismo para las seis cuerdas, que aquí suenan entre metálicas y distorsionadas.
Los juegos de voces, como no podía ser de otra forma, son perfectos, y los arreglos sencillos, más o menos lo que se espera del disco de debut de una banda. Disco que, por otra parte, se nos antoja demasiado breve para lo mucho que podrían dar de sí estos chicos que toman su nombre, por cierto, de una antigua canción de The Free Design.

The Proper Ornaments – The Proper Ornaments (Ep, 2012)

Download: The Proper Ornaments – Who Thought [MP3]

“The Proper Ornaments make a thrillingly taut and melodic pop indebted both to the sun balm’d West Coast (the Byrds, Brian Wilson) and the driving, terse rhythms of the British Invasion and C86 pop (the Beatles, Postcard Records), centered around the close partnership of frontmen Max Clapps and James Hoare.
Their first contact was in 2005 in a West London womens’ vintage clothing store when Max was used a decoy by his then girlfriend to distract shopworker James whilst she stole accessories. Following his subsequent apprehension they found themselves arrested with a mutual appreciation of the Velvet Underground and sixties psychedelia. They duly started writing songs together only for years of depression and intoxication to follow; over this period the two bought their own tape machine, James became homeless and Max’s wife filed for divorce.
Despite, or perhaps because of, these the duo repaired burnt bridges with former drummer Ralph Phillips in 2010 to begin playing shows, adding bassist Michael Lovett and Lets Wrestle frontman Wesley Patrick Gonzalez in 2010. They then worked with distinguished young producer Charlie Alex March to release a 7″ on San Francisco label Make A Mess Records. Cult London indie label No Pain In Pop – who had released an early single with James’ other musical project, Veronica Falls – got in touch after a gig and had the band record their debut EP over a two day period.
The eponymously titled product of these sessions is an abrupt and glorious slice of perfect pop. Jet propelled by super compressed drum production and the pair’s DNAtight vocal interplay, highlights ‘You Thought’ and ‘Drop Off’ are maudlinly effervescent whilst the 89 bittersweet seconds of ‘You Still’ are as bleak yet consumptive as they come. Floating between the pair’s rich voices not a word of theEP’s lyrics is carried alone. All signs suggest, now with one spectacular release under their belts, it’ll take more than a few high notes to tear Max and James away from each other” (

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28 junio, 2012 Posted by | The Proper Ornaments | Deja un comentario

The Proper Ornaments: Recalling (Single, 2010)


Sin dejarme llevar por euforias, os podría decir que este Recalling, firmado por el dúo The Proper Ornaments es a mi juicio el mejor single de lo que llevamos de año. No sé que tipo de atmósfera contiene el tema o dónde reside su encanto, lo cierto es que Recalling me encantó desde que lo descubrí gracias al blog de Rubén Área 51 del Corazón (y su variante, El Baúl de Área 51 del Corazón, que es incluso mejor), en el que el buen gusto siempre es la nota predominante. Recalling es un tema de Pop-Hipnótico que viene a ser algo así a como sonarían The Dandy Warhols tras haber estado una noche entera escuchando los dos primeros discos de la Velvet Underground. Poco sé de ellos, la verdad, y el hecho es que en su MySpace aparecen otros dos temas, que son claramente inferiores a Recalling. En cualquier caso, me gustaría escuchar más material de este dúo londinense formado por James Hoare (Veronica Falls) y Max Claps, quienes van tan de sobrados que en sus influencias tan sólo citan a The Beatles y a Leni Riefensthal: Geniales!! Por cierto el single lo comparten en descarga legal y gratuita.

The Proper Ornaments – Recalling (Single, 2010)

“There’s a slight hypnotic trait hidden deep within the motorik grooves of ‘Recalling’, a subtle dose – as if you’ve just been peppered with diazepam but are somehow resisting the urge to let it take you over. It’s a short, three-minute measure, and once it’s over you’re not entirely sure where the time has gone. There’s nothing tangible to grasp, no instantly memorable lyrics, phrases or passages. Just that beat, over and over. Like a rabid dog it sinks its teeth deep into your psyche, and, with the volume high it causes your chest to rumble dramatically. And then, suddenly out of nowhere there’s a refrain that rings true and familiar – even though it feels like its the first time we’ve heard it: “recalling the good times, the good times I’ve had” – like a lost Ray Davies lyric, doused in nostalgia and warmth. This is something very special indeed. Putting the wax lyrical dictionary to one side for a moment, the finer details are as follows. The Proper Ornaments are London based duo James Hoare (from Veronica Falls) and Max Claps. ‘Recalling’ is their debut single and was released this week via the San Francisco based Make A Mess Records (

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20 octubre, 2010 Posted by | The Proper Ornaments | 5 comentarios