- by Kevin Orton Rating:10 Release Date:2016-01-29 Label:
If you ask me, MONEY is a great name for a band. And their sophomore effort is a great album.
The soaring opener, 'I Am the Lord' reminds me of Echo & the Bunnymen in their prime with its sitar-like guitar. Lead singer Jamie Lee has a Paul Westerberg grit to his vocals when not dipping into keaning falsetto. The churning 'I’m Not Here' keeps the ball brightly up in the air of a grey Manchester horizon. 'You Look Like a Sad Painting on Both Sides of the Sky' features an irresistible melody, rising cellos and undeniable passion. A sweeping blast of northern soul to curl up with while staring out the train window on a winter’s day.
'Night Came' is Suicide Songs’ epic centerpiece. Things begin low and spare with acoustic guitar then propulsive guitars and ghostly, unhinged atmospherics thrust things skyward, Jamie Lee raving like a pissed off Van Morrison. In fact, in terms of its meandering, poetic musings and dreamlike mood, Suicide Songs comes across as the Manchurian answer to Astral Weeks. No more so than on Night Came.
The title track follows and is a suitably sardonic anthem featuring maudlin horns that bring Roy Harper’s When The Old Cricketeer Leaves The Crease to mind. The yearning, Hopeless World is a sweet helping of atmospheric pop. The kind the Cure excelled at on albums like Head On the Door and Disintegration. “I’m married to the sky,” Jamie Lee sings in I’ll Be the Night, and by the sound of it, it’s a spectacular sunset ending one hell of a long gloomy day.
All My Life is a rousing plea to the powers that be. Like much of Suicide Songs it goes from a whisper to a scream back to a whisper with sentiments like, “I’ll be the guy on the bench without money”. Granted there is a single, pervasive mood to this album. Much like albums such as Tom Waits’ Closing Time or Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left. Not that MONEY sounds like either of those albums or artists. However, they manage to sustain the same level of suspended intensity throughout. One that never lets up until the glorious debauchery of Cocaine Christmas and An Alcoholic’s New Year. If anyone ever wanted to hear Joe Strummer croaking out Randy Newman’s I Think It’s Going To Rain Today, this is as close as it gets.
We’re not even at the end of January, and along with Bowie’s Blackstar we already have one of the best albums of the year. Inspiring, powerful and above all else, beautiful.