Rainbow Reservoir make music that sound like the name. Glistening, bright, bouncing with happiness, and with hidden depths. The baby of multi talented and multi instrumentalist Angela Space, the second EP, 400 Imperfect Rhymes was released on July 14th, with the cast of Oli Steadman, Rob Steadman and Duncan McNaughton all collaborating on production and performance. Taking hints of surrealist storytelling a la Jeffrey Lewis, the direct and simple lyrics suggest The Magnetic Fields, whilst the vibrant folk sensibility is reminiscent of fellow Oxfordians Stornaway. It’s an eclectic and exciting piece of work, and I spoke to Angela to find out more. Read on for more on love, cities, and a man called Doug.
Tell me about 400 Imperfect Rhymes?
The beautiful album artwork was done by Kiri Kopcke and depicts Berlin. I wanted the artwork to be inspired by Berlin since visiting there had such an effect on me and my songwriting. The city in City Bike is Berlin and 400 Imperfect Rhymes was mostly written at Tegel Airport. The City Bike video is all shot in Berlin and if I were to do a video for 400 Imperfect Rhymes my idea involves Tegel Airport arrivals and departures displays.
Lo-fi, punk, pop, twee – it’s necessary to give yourself a genre, but how do you see your music?
This guy Doug once said it’s like a well worn pair of converse all stars and I like that. It’s lo-fi with the anti-folk lyricism of Jeffrey Lewis, the surrealism of Neutral Milk Hotel, and some Eels/Beck dirt. Doug would say, ‘insert rainbow metaphor here’.
What influences you?
Planes, love, crowds, love, stories, love, pain, love, desperation, love, trains, love, clouds, love, rainbows, love, smiles, love, fears, love, hate, love, rhymes, love, science, love, books, love, museums, love, snow, love, yellow roses, love, all -isms, love, TV, love, poetry, love, art, love, life, love, love, love, love.
What do you choose to write about?
I’m currently writing my 99th song. Of those, 71 are about love. The others are about transportation, fear, death, religion, and life.
How has geography influenced your writing? (Now based in Oxford, Angela grew up in Connecticut).
Hugely. Thank you for asking. I enjoy moving, transportation and hellos and goodbyes. I am also an accomplished packer.
Your EP is called 400 Imperfect Rhymes, which reminds me of something Anna Calvi when she was on Steve Lamacq’s Round Table show recently, about how she loves out of tune singing and things being off beat. What for you is the role of imperfection in your music?
Anna Calvi is awesome. And I totally agree with her…although maybe she’d think that I take singing off key and playing out of time a bit too far. It seems to me if it isn’t imperfect, it is an act. When you are in love or hurting or angry it’s not in tune. I don’t like airbrushed emotions.
Oxford has a ridiculously great music scene and strong pedigree for vibrant but intelligent music. Does this inspire you or put pressure on you? What does Oxford offer musicians?
Oxford has great bands, great venues, and great audiences. As an outsider I’ve never felt any pressure from its history. And although I’m a trained musician I certainly don’t have a prestigious pedigree. People often say they are surprised that they like my stuff. It’s like they just looked at me and assumed I’d be something that I’m not. In a way it is liberating.
Some of your videos are pretty weird, quirky, and cool. Do you have a favourite? How involved do you get? Is the visual important to you?
My favourite depends on my mood, but I am proud of Normal Girl and moving around all those beads. It was the first one I made. The visual is really important to me. I love taking videos. It’s just another way to convey an emotion. I’ve made them all myself. In the future I’d be interested in collaborating with visual artists. The EP artwork for 400 Imperfect Rhymes was designed by Kiri Kopcke and it was super interesting to see how she visually interpreted the music.
Like what you see? Buy 400 Imperfect Rhymes from Bandcamp.