Paul Mosley & Josienne Clarke relive the 1970's in new night-driving visual
Riding high after his ground breaking folk opera ‘The Butcher’ (**** The Quietus, **** R2, ‘Album Of The Year’ Resonance.fm) Mosley’s plans for the follow up faltered when his personal life unexpectedly had to take priority for a year.
Now he returns with his most personal and striking album to date - and what could have been a dour and contemplative album is a life affirming kaleidoscope of beauty and joy!
‘You’re Going To Die!’ is about grief and what comes after that. 11 songs, 40 minutes, no bullshit. All urgent, vital and full of life. The songs you write once in a lifetime when only the truth will do.
Check out ‘People Are Idiots’. Mosley’s composer credentials (and - let’s be honest - love of Nina Simone) marry with his gift for snappy hooks to keep the 11/8 time signature swinging as the junk percussion, sci-fi synths and pizzicato strings buoy up the all-star singers of the Red Meat Orchestra’s call-and-response backing vocals. It should be a weird mess but it’s an absolute banger.
Or the hypnotic repeated string refrain of ‘Couldn’t Love you More’ which musically doffs its cap to avant-garde minimalist composer Julius Eastman but adds a perfect Mosley pop song about returning to the small town where you were a lonely kid. All heart and swooping chorus it’s both joyous and melancholy at the same time.
Mosley utilizes his Red Meat Orchestra (a 16 piece mixture of bluesy bar band, baroque strings ’n’ woodwinds and found junk percussion) with a sparing intelligence reflecting his development as an in demand theatre composer. (He is currently creating the score for Little Angel Theatre’s new adaptation of Julia ‘The Gruffalo’ Donaldson’s ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’ opening November 2019)
He gives the guest singers room to shine too. SXSW New Folk Award winner Jack Harris testifies on bike-wheel led groove ‘Judge Mosley Presiding’, while Rough Trade’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Josienne Clarke and ex Mediaeval Baebe Esther Dee add celestial harmonies to the retro synths of night-driving nostalgia anthem ‘The 1970’s’.
“This whole album (‘You’re Going To Die!’) is about grief although it’s oddly up beat. Grief does funny things to your sense of time; lots of looking back but your memories are changed by the new knowledge of the loss. When I think of my mother’s life now, I think the heart of her story, when she was the most herself, is in the 1970’s when I was only small and my siblings were all at home. We often seemed to be in the car, at night, as a family. Somehow that’s the snapshot I have of her and us as our most together.”, says Paul.
“Josienne Clarke is one of my favourite people. I wrote the part of “Delores’ in my folk opera ‘The Butcher’ especially for her and brilliantly she stuck around to be a full member of the Red Meat Orchestra alongside Jack Harris and ex-Mediaeval Baebes Esther Dee. ‘Sometimes you just want to sing along to the saddest songs on midnight radio’ felt like a very Josienne thing to sing – and as ever she brought an intelligent melancholy to it that I love.”, he adds.
They are joined by Red Meat regulars Catherine Earnshaw and Darren Allford for gang vocal duties on the title track’s twisted tango which Mosley says he wrote after a previous theatre review described him as ‘The Muppets meet Tom Waits’ adding ‘I didn’t think it was quite true before and I really wanted to live up to that!’
Mosley’s more-famous-friends fill out the orchestra: Tom Moth (Florence and The Machine) on harp, Joe Peet (Cousteau, Benjamin Clementine) on double bass, Colin Smith (Feist, Shapeshifters) on Saxophones and this time another singer; BBC Radio 2 favourite Jess Morgan duets on defiant drunken waltz ‘Build your Fire’. But this is undeniably Mosley’s album. His voice, his songs set the tone of urgent, intelligent musicality and defiant humanity.
Also it’s fun.
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News story provided by Cannonball PR