unnamed-2MONEY: Suicide Songs (Bella Union)

LP | CD | DL

Out 29th January 2016


Living up to its name Suicide Songs is packed with heartfelt laments, but there is hope and vague glimpses of positivity coupled with exquisite arrangements.

Suicide Songs, doesn’t immediately conjure the greatest of imagery, nor does Jamie Lee want it to, with his aim being to portray a poetic truth. There is an obvious darkness there, but there are brief glimmers of light to be found in Suicide Songs and no matter how fleeting there’s an element of hope to the record.

There are also points at which Suicide Songs could be deemed self-indulgent, for instance opener I Am The Lord could be misconstrued in many ways. Is this Lee denouncing himself as an otherworldly being, or is it that he is wrestling with his own mortality. Does he just not want to exist in this mortal coil anymore, the opening track alone raising so many of questions.

Yet Night Came provides a whole different side to the album, Lee’s incredible falsetto taking over this delicate and light track. In spite of its name there’s a wonderful brightness to the track, with its swathes of cacophonous instruments all accompanying Lee’s manic vocals, with vague of glimmers of excitement augmented by beautiful strings and fleeting choral elements.

It sets the record alight from the bleak opening tracks, out comes this vivid blast of noise; there are tender elements that are quashed by crashes of guitar. Night Came is all encompassing, it consumes you with its many twists and turns, pulling you in every direction.

It paves way for the shortest but by far the most uplifting track; despite its title Suicide Song shows an element of hope. Whilst it is simplistic and not as brash nor cacophonous as others, it is no less compelling. The lack of overzealous arrangements revealing the incredible sentiment that lies beneath.

All My Life is not dissimilar to Night Came, its huge choral elements and beautiful orchestrations; it sees Lee once again exploring his feelings emptiness though. However, there is a flicker of hope as the music drops he vows to continue looking for something, there is a vague positivity despite the sense of longing that is conveyed.

The closing track Cocaine Christmas And An Alcoholic’s New Year sees the harrowing themes brought back to life in one final flourish, stripped back to a singular piano with brass interludes. Lee reflecting on the jovial atmosphere around him, it casts a sinister mood across the album. His haunted tones ringing out and as a woozy trumpet fades to nothing.

Suicide Songs is at times dark and tortured, as Lee seeks anonymity at the same time as looking for that something of worth. Yet this is tainted with hope and mild positivity, it’s an album packed with bleak realism beautifully written and exquisitely orchestrated. It is unnerving and uplifting all in the same breathe, it is an emotional roller coaster.

MONEY can be found online here moneybandofficial.com. They’re also on Facebook and tweet as @MoneyBand.

All words by Lee Hammond. You can check out more work by Lee at his Louder Than War author’s archive, he also tweets as @Napzap.

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