Mick Harvey and Christopher Richard Barker - The Fall and Rise of Edgar Bourchier and the Horrors of War - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Mick Harvey and Christopher Richard Barker - The Fall and Rise of Edgar Bourchier and the Horrors of War

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-11-09
Mick Harvey and Christopher Richard Barker - The Fall and Rise of Edgar Bourchier and the Horrors of War
Mick Harvey and Christopher Richard Barker - The Fall and Rise of Edgar Bourchier and the Horrors of War

Often, heavy times demand some heavy listening, as in hard, bare truths, where the history keeps on repeating itself, no matter how well aware of it we are. If you are just aware of the title of the album, a cooperation between Mick Harvey and author Christopher Richard Barker - The Fall and Rise of Edgar Bourchier and the Horrors of War you become aware that the two collaborators are about to present us with some hard lessons and messages.

What Harvey and Barker did was bring back to life the poetic works of a World War I poet Edgar Bourchier through a concept that follows his story and ends with the 100th anniversary of the Armistice on November 11, 2018. Bourchier wrote most of his poems in the trenches on the Western Front, where he was killed age 24 in 1917. He was only published posthumously, to be forgotten, then reprinted in the 60s and then his songs being first transcribed into music in the 80s.

Not only does the album present some strong messages through Bouchier’s poetry, but has an intricate concept that in lesser hands could have turned into a complete flop. Luckily, Harvey’s extensive musical experience and knowledge in handling some heavy messages (his longstanding cooperation with Nick Cave), doing musical tributes (his three Serge Gainsbourg tributes) and doing film music make The Fall and Rise… a compelling listen.

Using musical embellishments that hark back to the first part of the 20th century and combining it with three guest singers (Jade Imagine, Simon Breed, Alain Johannes), Harvey and Barker are able to present their narrative quite impressively, without ever reaching for any fake drama or pathos. The songs/poems work on both levels, each complementing the other as if they were originally conceived to be together.

What we do get is a continued musical and poetic narrative with each song segment working on their own as self-standing poems, like the ones from which they originate, some of them like “Listen in the Twilight Breeze” being quite impressive. The music and the lyrics never overpower each other and Harvey was able to create music that underscores the power of Bourchier’s poetry.

Essential ‘heavy’ listening.

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