Review: In Memory Of My Feelings – Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler

It has been a little over 10 years since Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler first decided to team up with each other and work on producing music together. They quickly felt they had the makings of an album together. Little by little things came together, building on their work together when time allowed. A few years down the track with Catherine working on her on solo career as The Anchoress, and then being part of the touring band with Simple Minds and in between those things juggling with continuing work with Butler on what would become In Memory Of My Feelings. Talk about multi-tasking!

The album was all but completed for a number of years. Davies and Butler suffered knock backs. Record companies would show an interest and then inexplicably go cold on the idea. But both Catherine and Bernard knew they had a diamond here! They just needed someone else to see, feel and hear it! Enter Pete Paphides and his newly established record label, Needle Mythology. He knew the gem that was before him. And so, with one last little hiccup along the way (the test pressing of the album causing a problem which meant a one month delay from the initial release date of September 18th), Friday – at last – saw the release of In Memory Of My Feelings, on vinyl, CD and in digital format and through streaming services.

Was it worth the wait? My opinion – a resounding YES!

The Breakdown: It’s beautiful melancholia. Catherine has a knack for that. Its sparse chords and mirrored vocal harmonies exude fear and regret but…there is light. The best melancholic songs always bring a hope with them. There is hope. It ends in hope. There is love. Strength. And the offering of courage.

Ten Good Reasons: It has been my earwarm all day! There is sass and sensuality and sultriness. Relationships when they hit the rocks and flatline. Do we push on? Is there any sense in doing so? That’s what I hear in this song. Again, impeccable harmonies and fabulous guitar work from Butler. The final 30 seconds of the song is just…perfection. That repetition of “what a mess we’re in” and then the ending piano chords. Geez…I know that is something. Or is a nod to something familiar but I can’t put my finger on it! (Catherine might tell me if she sees this?)

Sabotage (Looks So Easy): Rocking. Just – pow – straight in! Intelligent lyrics. Just punchy and ballsy. Again full of sass and attitude. We’re not gonna take deceit lying down.

In Memory Of My Feelings: It’s like three songs in one! What a break up song! Just, the musical weaving and blending, ducking and diving. The harmonies! My god, the harmonies on this album are flawless! Delivery on the lyrics “because you can’t take it back / you’ve done it now / and that is that” during the bridge breaks (right term?) are just beautiful. This could be my favourite track on the album. It just has such layers to it. And the dark and light of it. It interplays with mood and colour. Light and shade. It’s fabulous!

I Know: Or is THIS my favourite track? THE HARMONIES! I want to die! And with Butler’s guitar riding it all underneath…geez! It really is a beauty this one. Tenderness. Such tenderness to it! A love that is blossoming yet already faltering? Everything is all tentative. It’s beautiful, this. Just really beautiful.

Judas: LET’S ROCK! Just to dry up those tears shed from the beauty of the previous track. It’s a rollercoaster, this album! A rollercoaster of gems! Just absorb the sensuality and sultriness of this one. And just eat up that jangling guitar. Sell it to me, brother! (I don’t know what I’m saying anymore. Lol)

No More Tears To Cry: It’s almost a gospel tune. What fabulous lines “here in my mouth / here in my heart / is the place where the hunger starts”. And fabulous guitar work for BB. Esp. on this track. His guitar work is strongest on this. Great middle solo. Oh, it’s SSOOO good!

The Waiting Game: I don’t usually hear much of Manic Street Preachers influence on Catherine, but I hear it really strongly on this track. Abandonment? It’s the worst! It’s the daisy petal game, this song. “He loves me. He loves me not.” We’ve all done it, even if just metaphorically most times…picking them petals off the daisy. Life is a waiting game…for buses, trains, planes, people to tell you they love you and want to be with you. This song is catchy AF.

The Patron Saint Of The Last Cause: When you don’t feel you are worthy of anyone’s attention or interest or kindness. Melancholic again, but delivered to sound lighthearted. “Hey, I’m a fuck up. Don’t be bothering yourself with me” to an upbeat tune.

F.O.H.: Again, those bloody harmonies. Hell! And then…
To be honest…this is the only track I am kinda grappling with. I don’t know what to make of it still. I am not saying I don’t like it. I just don’t find it so easy to express how I feel about it/what I’m getting from it. The jury’s out a little…but that’s okay. If we say this is one only song I am really not gelling with that well with then, that gives this album a massive 9/10!

The Bonus tracks:
Live To Tell is a stellar version of the Madonna original. Much more emotional to me. Catherine’s vocal performance utterly perfect. Lovely space left on the track too. Excellently executed. Better than the original.
The Patron Saint Of The Lost Cause (Harmonium Version) the air of lightheartedness on the album version is diminished somewhat by the barebones harmonium sound. It isn’t a bad thing. I really like both versions.

Why this album was such a long push to get to be released is truly perplexing having listened to it several times now. The rejecting record company’s loss and Needle Mythology’s gain. Congratulations to Catherine and Bernard. And well done to the both of you for having the courage of your convictions to know that what you had produced here deserved to have an audience because you were both SSOO right!

In Memory Of My Feelings is a very strong album. Great lyrics, fabulous harmonies, musically “on point”. Everything just fits.

I can’t recommend this album enough!
It’s near faultless.
It has to be a 9/10!

A Chemical Reaction

Ever heard of Galaxians? Nope, me neither until Field Music’s David Brewis mentioned them on the Field Music Instagram account on Friday.

A new album of theirs (Galaxians) had been released and he was recommending it for your weekend listening pleasure. He said “our Leeds compadres Galaxians (he actually tagged their Insta a/c) have a new album out! Features the finest synthesizing this side of Bernie Worrell’s most-holy ghost.”

A person leaving a comment quoted that last part with a “SOLD!” at the end of their comment.

And I was really taken by the cover art. With me still in the middle of reading Lanark, there was something of the Alasdair Gray to the album cover art. So I thought “I need to give this a listen.

And for the past two nights I have done. Wow! Not just synths. Drums! E-drums. Linn drums maybe? I’m no expert. The vocals! Wow! And the style/genre – harking back to real PROPER funk, soul and r&b. I’m not sure about the Bernie Worrell reference. I am yet to see exactly what that pertains to. All I know is – THIS is a summer album! AND IT COMES FROM LEEDS?! It’s like that constant mindfuck of knowing that Average White Band hail from Dundee. Lol. You never expect these kind of sounds to spring forth from the UK.

Anyways, I am with David Brewis firmly on this one. You could do worse things on a rainy Sunday in Glasgow (or wherever else in the world you find yourself in currently) than listening to Galaxians new Chemical Reaction album.

Spotify link below…

You can buy their music from Bandcamp also. I’ve just gone and bought the album in vinyl. Bandcamp wording is a clickable link directly to their page.

Happy Release Day – Flight Of Ideas!

The day has arrived! Sadly, my copies are in lockdown as currently Monorail are only open as an online store and I ordered my Dinked LP and CD to collect from in the store itself. I’ll be waiting some time to collect, methinks! In the meantime, there is Spotify and the digital download copy to buy.

Check Warm Digits’ social media channels and website for details.

As a consequence, today’s music aperitif is Fools Tomorrow. Strangely timely for the perplexing time we find ourselves in.

Rare, Rarer, Rarest – Punk 45s

From the latest edition of Long Live Vinyl. A timely nod to Pripton. I guess he’s the reason this blog exists after all…

Personally, I still think Dead Vandals was the better song, but was obviously less ‘punk’ in the strictest musical notation terms. Thank god it was the B Side at least.

Turn Up The Funk – Warm Digits: Flight Of Ideas – Album Review

The follow up to 2017’s Wireless World sees the Newcastle duo expand on the lyrics and guest vocalists and they take the funk up a notch too! A fantastic trip into the topical point of how not every idea we have is the right idea and should be executed blindingly.

Following is my track-by-track thoughts on the new album.

Track one – Frames And Cages: Bang up-to-date but with undertones of Eastern mysticism and the soft wave of the signature Warm Digits sound. Pulsing rhythms through it. Love the ending. A strong album opener.

Track two – Feel The Panic (feat. The Lovely Eggs): First time I listened to it I felt it should have been the lead single, just my opinion. Great catchy lyrics. “Are you infallible? Or just gullible?” Andy’s drumming is a highlight on this. Great guitar licks from Steve as well. They bring out such a big sound for a duo. This track could currently not be any more topical!

Track three – The View From Nowhere (feat. Emma Pollock): A bit more of a laidback groove from the guys this track. Again, great lyrics. Great guitar licks from Steve.

Track four – I’m Okay, You’re Okay: The melody! I love this track. I actually find it very emotional. It’s reminiscent of something off Autobahn for me – just….the emotional impact of it. Gorgeous electronica. But also very organic. A very signature Warm Digits track for me.

Track five – Fools Tomorrow (feat. Paul Smith): Wow! What a track! The funk weaving through and Paul Smith’s voice works ssooo well with the sound. And the beat break around the three minute mark in the song? Divine! Again, tracks on this album are becoming incredibly topical.

Track six – Replication: Again, the melody that starts the track just pulls you in and then Andy drums like an animal. Great bass work and then manic but gorgeous waves of melody and riffs. Something pentatonic with the beat at times. Then another gorgeous beat break around the three minute mark. The bass on this is sublime!

Track seven – Shake The Wheels Off (feat. The Orielles): More funk coming along, but perhaps toned down a little compared to others. Great electronics on it and fab hooks and riffs going on in it. Again very catchy. “A real bone-shaker”, as the song says.

Track eight – Everyone Nervous (feat. Rozi Plain): Beautiful electronics and Andy’s drumming on it is fab. Great guitar reverbs towards the end of the track as well. Rozi Plain’s voice is so wonderful emotive. I find this a wonderfully soft and emotional piece. It actually gives me those goosebump chills of electricity when I play it.

Track nine – False Positive: TURN UP THE FUNK! Wow! Was blown away by this when they performed it at St Luke’s in Glasgow back in February. Great synth melody over the top too. Something you can really just funk out to. Might actually be my fave track on the whole album. If not then…it’s really up there!

Track ten – Flight Of Ideas: These guys really are the modern masters of the looped groove for me. I just love absolutely everything they produce. And – hidden singing sensation on the track – the one and only Steve Jefferis!

A cohesive collection of songs. A maturing of sound, I feel. A little less emphasis on the more motorik sound they had. They have certainly increased the funk ratio and the influences of the electronica that the band originally sprouted from has returned somewhat, but also matured.

Standout tracks for me are: Fools Tomorrow, Replication, Everyone Nervous and False Positive.

A very solid 4.5 stars out of five.

Flight Of Ideas is released on April 3rd, 2020, on the Memphis Industries label and can be pre-ordered online at the Warm Digits store. Click the LINK HERE for details.

Record Store Day 2020

This year’s RSD takes place on Saturday April 18th. There are some things that have piqued my interest, pictured below.

There is also a Steven Wilson mixes edition of Roxy Music’s eponymous debut album. For me, Field Music and kd Lang’s All You Can Eat and Drag would be lovely on vinyl. I used to play those and the Ingenue album SSSOO much. I absolutely ADORE her voice.

There is also the tenuous Simple Minds connected offering of Corporation Of One’s The Real Life – which as I understand it, oddly enough samples the title track from SM’s 1991 album.

Something for the purist, I guess. I can’t say I am that enthusiastic about it, but now I’ve said that, I’ll probably by it. Lol

Street Fighting Years – Reissues/Box Set – Released 06/03/2020

It’s the one a lot of fans have been waiting for and well…it’s fairly disappointing, insomuch as there’s nothing to surprise. No previously unreleased material. Well the Verona audio is deemed “previously unissued” – whatever the fuck THAT’S meant to mean. Not previously in audio only format, I’m assuming?

This new push for “edits” continues with a disc that contains both edits and full versions of songs and some remixes. Why edits? Especially within a product that appeals most to the ardent fan rather than the casual fair weather fan? I just about understood it with “40: The Best of 1979-2019”. It was to appeal to the casual fan, not the ardent one.

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If you want true fans … “real” fans to continue to invest in this output, you’re going to have to up your game. Sorry, but it’s the truth. You can’t just keep on relying on us being pulled in by the aesthetics of the packaging. It’ll start to have a tone of “nice legs, shame about the face” with it. “Nice packaging, shame about the content.”

It’s a big investment for some pretty imagery.

The only thing that genuinely appeals about it now is the booklet and Trevor Horn interview.

But don’t let me put you off! Available to pre-order – the best price I’ve seen for it is via the Townsend Music store, currently listed as £43 for the 4CD Boxset. You can view more details on the contents of the boxset HERE (which also contains info on the 2CD and 2LP versions of the album).

I’ll wait to invest. I’m guessing that by the time this year’s Verona gig swings by, the price will have dropped and I’ll grab a copy then. I did similar with Sparkle In The Rain and Once Upon A Time. I bought them both several months down the line at discounted cost.

Now…had this been a Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call boxset….

Glasgow – Music Scene Central!

I read a piece from The Guardian yesterday as to why author Karl Whitney believed that Glasgow is the best city in Britain for the popular music-lover. He talked about the vibrancy of the scene, the number of venues the city has, a number of them more intimate music/pubs, some offering a fully vegan menu. I had been in two of them mentioned, The Flying Duck (making my mind up about Walnut Road and hearing Cities being played as some kind of omen) and Mono, in which I had that delicious kumquat margarita – and also checked out adjoining Monorail record bar.

I’ve walked past Nice N’ Sleazy’s numerous times but have never ventured in. And also for me personally, the notion that I am going to be living just 15 minutes away from the Royal Concert Hall fills me with SO MUCH EXCITEMENT…I can’t even!

And he also talked about the shops too, mostly around the West End on the Byers Road. In all my visits to Glasgow so far, one of the things that has eluded a visit is Byers Road. And only this last time did I get a sweeping glance of it as we passed by on the sightseeing tour bus (highly recommended, I must say – and if you love a bit of history and Neil Oliver’s dulcet tones float your boat, you’re in luck! He provides the audio commentary on the bus). But when the move happens…well, I’ll be on the lookout for bargains and by all accounts the Sally Army store up near Partick is the place to go – two birds, one stone!

Anyway, Karl extolls the virtues of my very, VERY soon adopted city much more than I can. Click the image of Barras to read the article.

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Mecca

The Lowe Benchmark

The latest Record Collector looking into the best of Nick Lowe.

The bit about The Pretenders’ Stop Your Sobbing. I had NO IDEA that Nick and Chrissie had been an item! You learn something new every day, peeps!