Joe Cassidy and Gary McKendry first met and became friends in Belfast at 15, bonding over The Velvet Underground and David Bowie. They started making bedroom cassettes in 1986 which later gathered dust as the two went in separate directions.
By the early 1990s, Cassidy and McKendry had recorded dream pop under the names Butterfly Child and Papa Sprain respectively although neither project progressed beyond a cult following.
Cassidy subsequently moved to America and made numerous albums while McKendry returned to Belfast in 1993 and, after a breakdown, spent years in self-imposed isolation.
Reuniting after two decades, the friends decided the overcome the challenges of their different geographical locations and make music together again. Cassidy says "The emotion comes from a friendship lost, renewed and remembered [and] a longing for a Belfast and a time that never really existed.”
The resulting album combines McKendry’s love of dissonant white noise and Cassidy's love of melodic composition. It's a clash of styles that Cassidy calls, a little ominously, "an exquisite corpse". Fortunately, there's significantly more life in the tunes than this label suggests.
Lead vocals and lyrics are mainly Cassidy's although McKendry's voice can be heard on a spoken word Joycean prose-poem piece called Angeles.
There are expressions of confusion and uncertainty but the simmering pop tones and drifting ambience lift the overall mood. A cautious optimism can be gleaned from titles like Tomorrow Will be Ours and The Sun Will Come.
"The best is yet to come" is one of the sentiments in the discordant duet of the multi-faceted and wonderfully named Goose Pimples Forever.
This is the kind of album Syd Barrett might have made if his brain hadn't been fried by acid so it seems only fitting that proceeds from the record will go to a mental health charity.