Friday, July 23, 2010

Review: Cherry Ghost Beneath the Burning Shoreline

'Beneath the Burning Shoreline' is the second album from Lancashire balladeer Simon Aldred released under the moniker of Cherry Ghost. 'Beneath the Burning Shoreline' will cement his reputation as being a songwriters songwriter, but will also set him firmly in the public consciousness beside the likes of Richard Hawley and Paul Weller. Lyrically the songs remain slick, dark, descriptive, wordy and forlorn. They are presented as much more of a band effort than previous album 'Thirst For Romance.' Sonically Cherry Ghost have upped the anti in terms of orchestration and extra instruments, while the core sound has morphed into violent back alley rockabilly.

Opening track We Sleep on Stones is a noir tale delivered with the fine rockabilly precision of The Smiths at their most playful. Feedback lingers behind a military beat and groovy bass as Aldred sneers "We sleep on stones there's a killer in our homes that drags the night in" through the choruses. A Month of Mornings steadily grows from a simple arpeggtiated guitar octave into a dirty Springsteen meets Arcade Fire mid tempo ballad, with sparse guitar and keys drifting in and out of play. The albums title comes from the lyrics of this song "beneath the burning shoreline a month of mornings rain, Oh rolling river keep rolling."

Sure fire single Kissing Strangers is a tail of young love and singledom "been kissing strangers thralling the night sky drinking the bars dry. All is closing in". While Only Mother Could is a self acceptance lament on love; failed, unrequited and consciously denied or otherwise "In time I'll learn to love what only mother could." 

The Night They Buried Sadie Clay is a swirling cinematic highlight Elfmanesque strings fight Western horns while the top notch bassline and drums Whig-out. It is clear by now that Aldred has assembled a band of serious talent the bass and drums are fantastic throughout the album driving each song perfectly while the string arrangements counteract the guitar and keyboards wonderfully.

We are transported to Rome for Barbarini Square where Aldred quips "in a certain light your face could launch a bare knuckle fight" a brutal assessment of any woman or man. Black Fang is a more guitar heavy outing closer to the content of 'Thirst for Romance.'

There a social commentary running throughout the album no more so than in Luddite. The Luddites where a group of textile workers who destroyed labour saving machinery in their factories in the 1800's because they feared these innovations would lead to unemployment (and how wright they where) An unusual subject for a song and one that will surely irk Nicky Wire, for having been beaten to the punch.

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