Okay, the second installment of the Fingertips Flashback returns us to the year 2005 and a song that I thought never got the attention it so richly deserved. Fortunately, Le Reno Amps still seem to be active, and this song is still available online.
[from “This Week’s Finds,” Oct. 9-15, 2005]
Scotland’s answer to They Might Be Giants, Le Reno Amps are two guys (Scott and Al) from Aberdeen with an idiosyncratic sense of song, playful ideas about making lo-fi production come to life, and an enviable knack for melody. The modus operandi is stripped-down, always geared around their two voices and two guitars. But there’s goofiness in the air too, lending an ineffable magic to the aural landscape. “Once You Know” sounds like it was recorded in a gym, with bouncing balls and/or stamping feet ingeniously employed as the rhythm section for this sharp and sprightly down-home ditty. The song gets off to a great start based on melody alone; when the “percussion” kicks in with the second verse, ably accented by some hardy background “hey!”s, the song is unstoppable. The fully-whistled verse that starts at 1:14 appears at that point both a crazy surprise and utterly inevitable. “Once You Know” is from Le Reno Amps’ archly-titled debut CD LP, released under their own (ha-ha) Vanity Project imprint last year. The MP3 is up on the band’s site. A second CD is apparently in the works for these guys, due out some time in 2006.
ADDENDUM: “We try to write with all the fat cut out so you can savour their buttery goodness,” says Scott Maple, who founded the band with Al Nero. Hard not to like that. Turns out the band’s second album did not emerge until 2007, but the good news is these guys still exist, and put their third album out just last year. The band’s name, mysterious as it sounds, is simply a pluralized anagram of the names Maple and Nero.