Monday, 11 August 2014
Woah kiddies, still sweating from dancing like a dying fly? I know I am! That's cos I played you these dancing ditties last Friday.
PHOX - KIGFISHER from Phox
SYLVAN ESSO - HEY MIAMI from Sylvan Esso
JOY DIVISION - DEAD SOULS from Substance
PARQUET COURTS - BODIES MADE OF from Sunbathing Animals
ICEAGE - THE LORD'S FAVOURITE single
RUSTIE (FEAT. DANNY BROWN) - ATTAK single
JAMIE XX - ALL UNDER ONE ROOF RAVING single
SBTRKT - NEW DORP NEW YORK single
LOU REED - SICK OF YOU from New York
HONEYBLOOD - THE GIRL ON MY LEFT b-side
ACTION BEAT - SHIT YOURSELF from Beatings
BIVOAK - DANSE A BAMAKO from Bivoak
PINKSLINGULTRABLAST - IDE TO FODZILLA from Happy Songs for Happy Zombies EP
THE BOOMTOWN RATS - LIVING IN AN ISLAND from Tonic For The Troops
FUNKADELIC -BACK IN OUR MINDS from Maggot Brain
Phew. And next week we'll be commemorating one of the defining moments of rock 'n' roll history as well as celebrating one of the greatest moments in rock 'n' roll history too. And they happened on the same day!
Friday, 1 November 2013
I’ve never felt the need to scribe an obituary, but events this week compelled me to get this blog back up and running with someone without whom there would be little of the music that we play on Tunes To Help you Breathe More Easily.
Lou Reed (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013)
Lou was one of the lucky ones, people appreciated his influence while he was alive, now he’s gone, the world of music realises what it already knew, we’ll miss the contrary old bugger. Much has been written about Lou over the past week and I only have a personal note to add.
Lou Reed probably had the most profound influence over everything that I listen to, or have listened to, ever. I didn’t know it of course, when I first heard Bowie or Roxy or punk but Lou loomed large. Arguably without him David Bowie might have continued impersonating Anthony Newley and simply disappeared, Iggy would have stayed behind the drum kit, The Beatles would have continued writing sugary pop tunes, The Fugs wouldn’t have been allowed near a recording studio, Frank Zappa would have had no one to spar with, Brian Eno would not have become the non musician that he is and Roxy Music would have sounded very different indeed. And without Bowie or Roxy the British punk scene wouldn’t have happened. Then of course there would have been no New York punk because Jonathan Richman would never have formed The Modern Lovers, Television would have been poets without musical backing, Patti Smith would not have set her verse to music either.
Without him, where would the eighties indie scene have turned for its look? The striped jumpers, leather trousers and winkle pickers of every band on Creation. Lou Reed. Feed back with tunes? The Velvets of course. The experiments in noise and modulation of My Bloody Valentine? Metal Machine Music. The Aphex Twin? Metal Machine Music. The stabbing brass horns of The June Brides and Jamie Wednesday? Coney Island Baby.
I could go on but I think you get the idea, but he also sent me back to experimental classical music, the blues, Motown, doo wop, and on and on. All through his influence on other’s music. I spent the day listening to some of his records, not the obvious ones but, Set The Twilight Reeling, Ecstasy, Another View and the cruelly misunderstood and underrated Lulu collaboration with Metallica. I’ll miss him. I think the photo posted on his website, taken just a few days ago sums him up better than anything else that’s been written about him. The world was a different place then, because Lou was still in it.
Saturday, 11 May 2013
Loop - Heaven’s End ( Head 1987)
The first time that I saw Loop I hated them. I didn’t just dismiss or dislike them, I Hated them. I wanted to take Robert’s guitar, break the neck off it and stick the body of it where the sun don’t shine, before tearing off his head and shoving the mic stand down the hole until it met the body of the guitar and sparks would fly until his mutilated body would jerk and spasm until it stopped moving and he would spontaneously combust and turn to ash before my very eyes. the second time I saw them, I liked them even less. Both times I’d gone to see the main attraction of the evening, the first time it was The Wishing Stones debut gig (which I must admit I was a little surprised at, as I thought that I was in them! Thought that we hadn’t rehearsed for a while). And the second time, well to be honest, I’ve forgotten. But it was probably Primal Scream, as I used to go and see them on an almost weekly basis back then. Either them or Biff Bang Pow!, or the Jasmine Minks, one of the Creation bands anyway. Why the extreme reaction? I asked myself the same question before I caught them for a third time. And watching them playing their singular, loud, pulsing, throbbing noise it hit me. It was because during those anorak wearing, lollipop sucking, fey, twee indie kid days, I thought that I was the only person still listening to The Stooges, and Robert, with Loop, had created such a brilliantly simple cocktail for a band that it seemed just too damned obvious. And I wished that I’d thought of it! Take one Stooges riff, let it brew slowly, slowly, slowly, until it became one huge hypnotic beast, then repeat, and repeat again, and repeat again, and repeat again, oh and crank the amps up to 11. And repeat again. Then for good measure, do the same trick with another one. Add some Mo Tucker beats and ............. hang on , this is fucking genius!
Then came the records, two 12” singles (16 Dreams and Spinning) on Jeff Barthes Head had me travelling far and wide to see them. I got it. This was quite simply astounding. Here was a band creating hypnotic, melodic, meditative grooves for the indie generation. And it was loud. It didn’t really matter that they were from that most un rock ‘n’ roll outpost of Croydon, it didn’t matter that The Spacemen 3 were creating similar grooves in even more un rock ‘n’ roll Rugby. Loop were IT. The ideal Loop gig would have been in a damp, sweaty cellar with the amps locked on full volume, wine and spirits only at the bar and with the doors locked so that no one could get out.
So, the album. Well the singles had primed the ears well. Remember these were strange times, songs were usually about not being able to get a girlfriend or losing your Pastels badge. People actually thought that The House Of Love were good! (Not I guava, I saw straight through the emperor's new clothes) The Housemartins were having hit singles and we spent Friday nights blagging away to old soul floor fillers being spun by Wendy May in old Kentish Town. No one, and I mean no one in London's fair city was listening to Kraut rock or Detroit noise nicks back then. Until this album reminded us that this music ever existed. For starters, it fades in, a device previously employed by En! and which suggests that this music had been here for a long, long time and the listener had simply chanced upon it. We were now entering Loop Sounded world, prepare to stay a while. Their recycled riff were just far enough removed from the ones they’d borrowed to nudge them over the line into brilliance. They nag and tug at you to surrender and just drift with them and succumb. You’ve always wanted to be here.
The layers of guitars are sonic waves come to wash over you and engulf you in their energy, the bass massages your deepest fears and the primal, rhythmic drums that underpin the whole thing take you to another world. Then you notice the vocals, so far away that they’re hardly there at all, just there, in the mix, another instrument in the all encompassing maelstrom of noise. Subtle, yet in your face, magical. This is hypnotic grooving par excellence. Did I mention that the volume needs to be turned up. Good. This album could be just one long track with some slightly different time signatures, its that much of a whole. But there are moments of respite between the tracks before you are sucked back in to Loop world. And they sample Hal, the demented computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Of course.
As a footnote, I started writing this before I discovered that they were getting back together for some gigs. Go and see them, if they’re a fraction as good as they were at the time of this album, we’ll be in for a treat.
Friday, 26 April 2013
Love - Four Sail (Elektra 1968)
In 1968 Love were fucked. They had made their masterpiece (and arguably the greatest album of the rock era) and had fallen apart over the course of an East coast tour. Different band members were using different drugs, then they had all of their rented gear, and the van that it was in (also rented) nicked, quite possibly by drug dealers, in New York. On returning to Los Angeles, their road manager, Neil Rappaport, O.D’d and the money from the tour also disappeared. So your band are in disarray, your tour manager’s dead, your broke. What’s the logical thing to do? Fire the band of course! Arthur Lee dusted himself down and gathered a new group within days of this perceived lunacy. And he totally changed musical direction. Result: Love - Four Sail.
The title was a bad pun on the fact that Arthur owed Elektra one more Love album (Love for sale, nurse my sides!) So the new band got together in what was basically a garage with a home studio, put away the acoustic guitars and plugged in. Then turned it up. Rehearsing relentlessly the new line up of Arthur on guitar and vocals of course, Jay Donnelay, also on guitar, Frank Fayed on bass, and George Suranovich on drums, set about playing songs where every member of the group seemed to be attempting to be the lead guitarist on their own instrument. At the same time!
The album comes blinking into the light with the guitars tumbling over each other and drums playing scatter shot, stuttering patterns, all at different speeds and times, with the bass attempting to keep up, only he’s not sure who to keep up with. On paper that looks like it should be a total aural mess, but on record its a mythical monster lifting the Californian summer sun high into the sky and hurrying it on until dusk. When the freaks come out to play. This was an even denser place than Love had previously been, yet Arthur’s lyric was one of being lifted up when he’s down, of having the saving grace of August with him wherever he goes. Contradictions? Love now had even more of them.
The next two tracks are both of a more lilting nature, Latin even, and are both about the recently departed Neil Rappaport. Bittersweet peans to a friend who’s gone, but who left a deadly legacy behind. With his recently sacked band members still strung out on heroin, Lee wasn’t about to paint too sweet a picture of the guy he partially blamed for their addictions, even though he obviously loved him.
Good Times follows, sounding harder and heavier again. Love crank up the amps again and pummel away with the the power of an over enthusiastic pugilist, the idea that “we’re gonna have a good time”. It seems slight lyrically, like The Velvet Underground’s later, We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together, but comes on like an outtake from Lennon’s primal scream record of the following year. This is Arthur exorcising the demons that the drug culture that the previous Love line up had embraced. Singing Cowboy, the final track of side one continues to lay the ghosts of the recent past to rest. But the cowboy appears haunted, they keep coming after him, there’s a great trick of building up the song, crank up the volume and let it fall back to a soft lull, then repeat the trick until it reaches its sonic maelstrom epic finale, with added woohoo call and response vocals layered on for good measure.
Dream opens side two in only the way that a song entitled Dream should, in a spacey, transcendental manner. Its about returning home and its one of the rare occasions that Arthur Lee writes a heartfelt, honest lyric about his own feelings. Savour it. Talking In My Sleep continues the lyrical honesty with the tale of a love affair that was not so sweet, but difficult to end. Side two is more in the vein of previous Love outings, in that the amps are not cranked up to eleven, but the record still has that instant, garage punk attitude, hi-fi this is not, and all the better for it. Robert Montgomery marks the transitional sound of a band moving from the psychedelic genius of Forever Changes towards the band that would make Out Here and False Start, they manage to sound like all the incarnations of Love at the same time. This really is a good thing. Arthur is dealing with the scenesters who laughed at him, but who are now copying the style of the long-hairs, pah!
Nothing is another of the tracks on this album where the band members all get to show off their, rather incredible, talents, like opener August each musician at first sounds like he’s playing a different song to the others, with added twiddly bits, but it just damn well works. I don’t know how, but that’s what’s magical about it. Album closer Always See Your Face is a wistful lament with some gorgeous piano played by Arthur. A fitting end to an album that began with a thrash, from a scream to a whisper in three quarters of an hour. If anyone tells you that Love were washed up after Forever Changes, they haven’t listened to this. Don’t let anyone convince you they’d had it, the following album had their moments but this belongs in any collection that includes other sixties misfits like The Doors, or the Velvets later efforts.
Monday, 15 April 2013
Jim Ford - Harlan County (Sunrise/White Whale 1969)
I waited twenty five years to hear this album. Fact. Well, to be honest I didn’t actually know that Jim Ford had made an album. Back in the late eighties I had a fantastic job selling merchandise at gigs. You know, t-shirts, badges, mugs and the like. Well I was on tour with Barking’s own left wing ex squaddie/ one man Clash and his ex road manager/best mate and Whistle Test presenter joined the tour for a few of the dates. In his hometown of Leeds we headed back to his sister’s house for some after show refreshments. Of course music was played. I remember lots of Faces and Ramones, as well as Steve Philips playing live in the living room. When our Radio 1 DJ chum slammed on Harlan County. “ What the fuck is this?” I yelled in his ear.
“The best record ever made that’s not by The Ramones!” came the reply. I begged him for a copy, to no avail, he only had one that Dave Woodhead (trumpeter on some of Billy Bragg’s records) had picked up in a second hand shop called Lawrence Brothers in Nashville. A copy was given to me on a cassette compilation the next night. It would have to suffice, until the same compilation was issued as Great Moments in Vinyl History on Special Delivery about a year later.
But Harlan County’s swamp gumbo stew of soul, country, delta blues, Elvis, funk and a whole jug of Kentucky bourbon had me hooked. Its sound is best described by its maker, “Country, funky.” Lyrically its a story song, a semi autobiographical tale of growing up in a mining area, where there ain’t no mining anymore, and all the money left with it. Being Cornish, I could understand growing up where your county’s main source of income got, pardon the pun, shafted. There are lines in here that will break your heart, kids whose dream is to get new shoes, his father getting shot in a poker game, “over fifteen cents, just to buy a loaf of bread” Boy did young Jim have it tough? So tough that he prays to be delivered from Harlan County. When his Momma remarries a pick wielding, hard working man, our protagonist feels its OK to leave, Mom’s being looked after now, to somewhere. Not anywhere specific, just somewhere, so desperate is he to get away from, well, nowhere. All in the space of three and a bit minutes of the fonkiest, countriest, rock ‘n’ rollingest musical setting you’ve ever heard. No one was making records like this in 1969. No one. Actually no one has since. Some have tried, but despite all their best efforts, and there have been some great attempts none reached the stratospheric heights of Jim Ford’s cajun, country, funk genius.
So when the album was finally reissued in 2011, was it worth the wait? Too fucking right brother. I wanna testify. From the cover to its funkingest, country grooves, this album is unique. But some back up story here, might help. Ford was actually born and raised in Johnson County, the neighbouring county of the titular Harlan, in Kentucky, both counties famous for all the wrong reasons, poverty, violence and desperate coal miners trying to hang on to their jobs. As a child he got interested in music thanks to a near neighbour whose parents had a radio. And yes she was only a coal miner’s daughter, that neighbour was the one and only Loretta Lynn. Apparently, aged 11, Jim found his way out of Johnson county to go and live with his father in Michigan. When that didn’t work out, he liberated some cash from his Dad and hopped on a Greyhound bus to New Orleans, where he lived on the streets, before hitchhiking around the States. Eventually he made his way to Los Angeles after a stint in the military in Germany. In L.A. he fell in with P.J. Proby, Leon Russell, Randy Newman, Glen Campbell and Jackie DeShannon amongst others. He later befriended Bobby Womack, Bobbie Gentry and, famously, Sly Stone, who declared him, “The baddest white man on the planet.” So much did sly regard Ford that he can be found in the collage on the gatefold of Sly’s majestic There’s A Riot Going On LP.
Jim Ford evidently soaked up influences from all those around him and fed them back into those early days of listening to the radio with Loretta Lynn. The melting pot was then used to cook up the swampy, country, gospel, funk, soul, stew that became Harlan County. But Jim was acutely aware of the whole ridiculous nature of the music business, as is evident from the very self deprecating nature of the sleeve itself. A brown paper wrapper tied up with string, stamps with ford in down home mode; sitting with a calf, smoking his pipe and smelling the roses, bearing an address with instructions to return the record to it after 10 years and a hand written “Contents Breakable” at the bottom. The sleeve notes, by Jim himself, boast of the 75 copies of Dr. Handy sold and end with, “Good luck on selling this album.” Chest beating and self promotion were not Ford’s way. And that is all part of the masterstroke that points to this record’s long gestation period, wallowing undiscovered in the record racks.
When the reissued album arrived, it was with some trepidation that I put it in the CD tray. Harlan County itself sounded as good as any time that I’d played it, from in my living room to during DJ sets at festivals, where it always got everyone, from ravers to soul boys to metallers, dancing. It still blew (blows) me away. Now there would be new songs (to these ears), hold on to your seat. I let the album take over, enveloping me it out a huge sideways sausage eating grim on my face. I’m Wanta Make Her Love Me was more of the same, swamped in the same echo and reverb with gospel backing singers and Jim’s lusty growl, how could she not fall for his hillbilly ways. This is the sound the Stones finally got into on the about-to-fall-apart-but-just-keeping-it-together fug of Sticky Fingers. Think The Band jamming with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys and The Family Stone and you’ve got some idea of where we’re at.
So I was ready for the rest of the album now that my mind had been put to rest, Harlan County wasn’t a one off. There are slow funky ballads where Jim Ford’s vocals tear your heart out, this man lived in these songs. He had loved and lost and got up to dust himself off to love again, his heart and soul is laid bare on every track, even the jovial numbers like Dr. Handy’s dandy Candy, which cracks along on a bouncing funk ‘n’ swamp blues. Bloody hell this man could sing a shopping list and have you believing it was the most emotional thang youse ever gonna hear. He even manages to take Willie Dixon’s Spoonful and make it his own.
The musicians on the album slip with ease between the slow funk of the gorgeous, To Make My Life Beautiful and the country boogie, gospel, funk, New Orleans jazz of the title track. Well with jim Keltner, James Burton and Dr. John on board, you couldn’t go far wrong. But it’s Jim Ford’s record, he produced and arranged this mother with a little help from, “red wine, white wine and little sleep.” The whole album just sounds and feels natural. And unrepeatable, which is maybe why he never made another album. Well if you’ve made one this good you don’t need to make another.
Saturday, 13 April 2013
Phil Ochs - Greatest Hits (A&M 1970)
Ah, irony. From the sleeve to the run out groove this album is dripping in the stuff. Warm, witty, humorous and satirical it may be but this record is no joke. Phil’s wearing a gold lame suit on the cover, standing defiant, slinging his guitar like a machine gun, alone on a dimly lit stage in front of heavy, deep red curtains, grinning. The back of the sleeve has each track title written in a mock up of a single label to add to the fun. Across the back of the sleeve is also writ large, “50 Phil Ochs Fans Can’t Be Wrong”. You want self deprecating political polemic country folk with some western swing? Look no further.
Phil Ochs had made his name as a modern day folk singer, rather like his contemporary, Bob Dylan, but Phil’s songs were more of the times, citing specific political machinations that were occurring around him at the time. His debut album was even called, “All The News That’s Fit To Sing.” Phil was a modern day minstrel singing his songs of the days’ events, as they happened. Great as those songs are, unless you have a working knowledge of American politics in the sixties they’re very much of their time, which is as it should be, there are not enough people around at the moment singing of their times(Neil Young excepted, of course). Phil and Dylan had a mutual appreciation society going on, each keeping a close eye on the other’s songs, until Bob went electric and began to write more in a stream of consciousness manner. Dylan’s lyrics were always more obtuse than Ochs’, which may be why we now hold the former in such high regard rather than the latter. But Ochs continued to carry the banner of the folk singer/troubadour with acoustic guitar taking the news to the masses. Then Ochs too began working with a band. His explorations took in influences ranging far and wide, from English music hall to Wild West saloons, and the results were nothing short of incredible. Then came Greatest Hits, produced by the legendary Van Dyke Parks and taking influence from the back to basics approach that was encroaching on the work of everyone from The Beatles and The Band to the Grateful Dead and The Byrds.
It wasn’t a back to folk basics, but a back to rock ’n’ roll basics. Phil, like most of his generation had grown up on the stuff, it was in his blood as well as his consciousness. On One Way Ticket Home the chorus even begins with the line “Elvis Presley is the king, I was at his crowning”. Rock ‘n’ Roll is here to stay and it is the modern folk music, messages can be conveyed just as simply through the medium as it was through folk before it. So why not use it? This record has it all; folk, country, blues western swing, it is what Gram Parsons called the cosmic American music, and it contained songs about the human condition, gone were the news themed political anthems of yore, and in their place were songs of the heart.
At first listen these songs appear to be about the lost love of a woman, but listen closer and Phil’s heart hasn’t been broken by a woman. These songs are about the state of his beloved United States of America. Gas Station Women rues the loss of faith in love by using the grade and amount of petrol that the singer puts in his tank, when his woman was there it was high test and fill her up, now that love has gone it’s just, “a dollar’s worth of regular today”. Why would you want to spend money and time exploring your country when she’s let you down? You just want to do the bare minimum needed to get by, work, home, sleep, repeat. All with a jolly country swing.
Chords of Fame is a thinly veiled bitter, jealous attack on his old folk compadres who have left behind the songs of protest for a life of playing for audiences rather than causes. The song asks the singer to take care when singing the songs that bring fame, to watch out for the sharks swimming around who will snatch the rights and take the glory and the cash. There is compassion in here as well, but again the song is an attack on the way America has treated her country men who have stood up for the right to free speech and had the audacity to use it, as well as those who backed down when the going got tough. The lyric urges the singer to play songs from his heart, not to be motivated by the glittering lights and facades of the fame machine.
The album is full of such double meaning, Phil’s writing is enigmatic and forthright at the same time, an amazing lyrical feat is achieved on this record, it can be heard as a straightforward album of love songs, or one of deep political messages. On either level it sounds great. Even the jokey live acoustic attack on Nixon, that harks back to earlier albums, incongruously stuck in the middle of side two still sounds fresh and alive, like this really is a collection of all American music, from all time, made for the modern age.
The album ends with the epic, sad, tragic yet uplifting No More Songs. The sweeping arrangement and use of minor chords demanding that this song really isn’t the end, has Phil Ochs really said all there is to say? Can there really be no more songs? It just leaves you wanting more. It is quite simply stunning. No one knew it at the time but there really were no more. This was the last studio album that Phil Ochs made in his tragically short life. And as a swan song it is magnificent, it would be magnificent were it not. This is one of those records that you rediscover every once in a while and wonder why; (1) you don’t play it more often and (2) Phil Ochs doesn’t have a statue to greet you as you enter his beloved America, just in front of the statue of liberty. This album is a love album, to America, and anyone who’s ever had a passing interest in rock ‘n’ roll and its American roots should own this record.
Chords Of Fame
One Way Ticket Home
No More Songs
Thursday, 11 April 2013
Hugh Cornwell - Totem And Taboo (Cadiz 2012)
Three musicians, one sound engineer. A perfect recipe for hot, lean straightforward, uncluttered rock ‘n’ roll. Hell on some tracks the drummer only uses a snare and a cymbal. Fan bloody tastic. But this ain’t no retro trip, it may be stripped back and raw but its as twenty first century relevant as anything else out there at the moment. At a time when the only other voice occupying a similar territory is Jack White, the world needs reminding of what thrusting loud guitar driven rawk is about. And this is it.
Who ever thought of putting Hugh Cornwell in the studio with Steve Albini (thank you David Fagence, Hugh’s manager) hit the nail well and truly squarely on the head. Hugh’s previous album was recorded at the legendary Toe Rag studios in East London with Liam Watson, do the logical next step would be to work with uber sound geek Albini at his Electric Audio studio in Chicago. His track record recording loud trios including his own Big Black, Rapeman and Shellac as well as, of course, NIrvana, PJ Harvey and even The Cribs speaks for itself. This man knows how to make three people sound like a barrage of gutsy rock noise.
Hugh Cornwell has spent much of his solo career since leaving The Stranglers stripping away the superfluous layers that threatened to bury the songs under the weight of overdubs. Its actually something that he has done many times before. Back in the early eighties when everyone else was looking for the big sound, The Stranglers stripped it back to acoustic guitars; Hugh also ironically titled one of his earlier solo albums, Hi Fi. So this album sounds like it was always meant to happen.
Totem and Taboo opens proceedings with a crunchy loud monster of a pop riff of precise dynamic proportions, and then Hugh turns a whole genre of pop music on its head with the opening gambit, “Every day I wake up felling better, than I ever did the night before.” What an opening!. And it sounds like the band are playing it in the room with you, thanks to Steve Albini’s set-up-the-mics-and-hit-record approach to recording. Well obviously he sets the levels and effects and sound geek stuff sorted first but you know what I mean. Taking its title from Freud, a book that Hugh says his parents had on their book shelf but he’s not read because it seemed, well, taboo, the title track celebrates the joys of just being, idleness, taking your time whilst all around you seems to be rushing headlong into oblivion. Despite the “i’m in no hurry’ lyric, we’re on a train accelerating at high velocity with no brakes. Hold on tight and don’t let the guard know that you don’t have a ticket. Oh hang on, you may not need one.
I’m not going to critique every song an the album, but a special mention must go to The Face, a real soul bruiser that again takes the less is more approach. Hugh’s wordplay here is subtle, until you realise that he’s actually singing “the face that launched a thousand shits”. I can’t think of any other songs in the rock canon that deal with queuing up for the loo at a party, with the bloke who replaced you in your old band, only to discover that you are actually in line to meet and greet the hostess of said party, Madonna! Hugh is also unafraid to address taboo issues, hence the title obviously, posing questions of why the west worships the thin on, Love Me Slender (gedddit?); God being a woman; sexuality; believing what you read in the press on Stuck In Daily Mail Land; the me generation, greed and selfishness on I Want One Of Those. Just for starters. But its all intrinsically linked with the sonic qualities of the record. Its in your face but it envelops you, even on the epic majesty of the closing track, In The Dead Of Night, with its birdsong samples, raw and sophisticated at the same time, primal yet contemporary, live and alive. Bloody magnificent.
This is an album for the established fan, but shouldn’t be. It is the only time that I have personally taken part in a pledge music campaign. I’m a long time fan, and on the evidence of his previous LP, Hoover Dam, I trusted Hugh to deliver. And man did he deliver. This could well be his masterpiece, and really deserves a wider audience. In the meantime, while everyone else catches up with where Hugh’s at, its our little secret. Spread the word.
Note: If I gave stars or marks out of ten this would be off the scale. An extraordinary record.