The Angular Records’ 2012 re-release of Eleven Pond – Watching Trees / Portugal single comes across somewhat ‘standard issue’ from the surplus of the recent past. Originally released in 1986, this moody synth-pop single was mostly distributed in Europe (according to Angular) and has yet to be caught by Discogs at the time of this articles release.
A-side track Watching Trees is milked for everything its worth over 3 versions on the re-release, though the Bedroom 4track Mix bookend version is “completely identical” to the opening Bedroom Demo version according to Bandcamp user Chrisdee. Percolating synth lines blip and bubble across an undercurrent of ghostly synth wails. Steady drum machine rhythms thump back and forth while vocalist James Tabbi pines for the incidental attention of being seen in a tree.
I fail to catch anything noteworthy or particularly distinct from b-side track Portugal. It all comes across a bit quaint, dated, or simply lacking. But b-sides never really were the star, were they?
Watching Trees lives on via digital giants of music discovery; an algorithmically transmissible Spotify track and on Bandcamp with inconsequential bonus versions of its a-side. It’s not a record that will change anybody’s life, but is worth interrupting one’s doom scrolling to check it out.
For fans of: New Order, Flock of Seagulls, Visage