Wayne Hussey – Songs Of Candlelight & Razorblades

29 10 2014

S"Songs Of Candlelight & Razorblades"o you’ve not heard the second solo album from The Mission singer-songwriter, Wayne Hussey. What would you expect to hear? The sound of an artist trying to re-create the “glory years” or an album drenched in 80s goth nostalgia?

What about one of the albums of the year, full of moving vocal performances, a real variety of styles, and an album that sound’s nothing like his “day-job” in The Mission?

It’s the latter you will actually hear. I’m not a fan of The Sisters of Mercy or many of the so-called “goth” groups from that era. But goth didn’t pass me totally by without digging it’s talons into my heart and leaving me with the love of some of the bands such as All About Eve and song’s such as The Mission’s Tower of Strength, Severina and the beautiful Butterfly on a Wheel, so I was curious as to what a Hussey solo album in 2014 might sound like.

If you put aside any preconceptions, you might discover that Songs Of Candlelight & Razorblades is an excellent album. The album opener is a brave choice – Madam G is a lovely, infectious torch-song, with a subtle late-night arrangement, and was co-written with former All About Eve singer-songwriter, Julianne Regan. Don’t take my word for it, have a listen yourself on the Spotify link below.

Nothing Left Between Us is a slowly building song chronicling a decaying relationship.

“Why are we still holding on, to something that’s already gone”

Wayne Hussey

You Are Not Alone has a Laurel Canyon feel, with a touch of Led Zeppelin thrown in for good measure.

The Bouquets & the Bows is the highlight of the album for me, mainly due to the powerful vocal performance. I love the ending of this song, with the acoustic bass intertwining the piano riff as the song drifts away.

Wither on the Vine musically seems to reference The Cure from around the A Forest era, with the drum and guitar sound. A song calling for tolerance, this track is the one that would likely appeal to fans of Hussey’s earlier work.

I’m reminded a little of This Mortal Coil when listening to No Earthly Cure. A fine chorus tops this wonderful song.

The sequencing of the album works really well – ‘Til the End of Time continues the pace of the previous songs, then winds down with an acoustic breakdown as the swampy Devil’s Kind romps in and turns up the tempo.

When I Drift Too Far from Shore is a string-driven, Bowie-esque piece, whilst Next Station references a Bowie song in it’s lyrics (and possibly in the the song title too).

The album closes on the spoken word Aporia, which touches on some of the problems of the current human condition (racism, homophobia) and what’s that I hear, Bauhaus‘s Peter Murphy on backing vocals?

To quote Aporia“ignorance just ain’t no defence”. I’ve told you how good this album is, have a listen on Spotify and if you like what you hear, support the artist and buy the CD.

Buy Hussey – Songs Of Candlelight & Razorblades on Amazon UK

Buy The Mission – The Brightest Light (2 CD) on Amazon UK

Buy The Mission – Anthology – The Phonogram Years (2CD) on Amazon UK

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack

12 12 2011

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Trent Reznor’s third recent collaboration with Atticus Ross (the other two being the Academy Award winning The Social Network soundtrack and the post NIN band How to Destroy Angels) is the soundtrack to the David Fincher directed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

The album is framed by a bookend of cover versions – the opener is a cover of Led Zeppelin‘s Immigrant Song, which is probably already one of the most played songs this year, featuring in the trailer for the film that has received millions of YouTube viewings. Featuring  Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs on vocals, its the most guitar heavy piece on the soundtrack.  Bar the final track, the rest of the album is made up of dark, ambient, atmospheric instrumental music.

Reznor & Ross worked together during the latter Nine Inch Nails years, most notably on the Ghosts I-IV album, so this dark electronica is a continuation of their previous work. An early highlight on this 39 track release is What If We Could?, a gentle piano piece that stands out from the darkness of the preceding music. With The Flies follows, and is one of the most disturbing tracks on the album, with an incessant buzzing hinting at what are probably gory visuals in the forthcoming film.

A Thousand Details is an uptempo NIN-like romp, but the parts of the album I enjoy the most are the atypical, softer pieces, of which One Particular Moment is a particular highlight.  The bar-room piano motif is underpinned by soft synth pads that give way to razor sharp buzz synths. Please Take Your Hand Away continues with the bar-room piano and adds some eerie, discordant flute to the orchestration.

The Same As The Others is another highlight – with a simple guitar refrain, and whistling wind effects.  While Waiting stands out due to the rare use of voice – but still no words. The Seconds Drag ticks along at a metronomic pace, underpinned by bells and a nagging guitar line.  Bells feature on many tracks on this soundtrack, and are one of the key sounds that repeat and re-arrange themes throughout the album.

Parallel Timeline With Alternate Outcome is a slow-burning piano led track that starts to change when the buzzing flies previously used appear and lead to a disturbing end to the track.

The album closes with the second vocal track, and the second cover version, in the shape of Bryan Ferry‘s Legend track from 1986, Is Your Love Strong Enough?, performed on this soundtrack by How to Destroy Angels. This haunting version, stripped of the clunky 80’s snare of the original, is a fine end to the album.  It’s the only track featuring vocals from Reznor (towards the end of the song) and does make you hanker for a new Nine Inch Nails album (which may be on the cards for 2012).

Obviously, the main aim of a soundtrack is to accompany visuals, heightening tension, and strengthening the viewers emotional response to scenes, but sometimes soundtracks work as stand-alone listening experiences. For me, this album joins Ryuichi Sakamoto‘s Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and Clint Mansell‘s Black Swan as non-song based soundtracks that can be enjoyed in isolation of their accompanying films.

The soundtrack is available from the Nine Inch Nails website or iTunes, with a CD release on the 26th December, to tie-in with the film’s release.

Buy The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on Amazon

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