Sunday, January 19, 2014

HENRY PRIESTMAN: "The Last Mad Surge Of Youth"

Rating: RRRR+
Label: Proper Records 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Henry Priestman, holy crap, hardly your ordinary local vicar even if he's formerly of The Christians (the U.K. band of the 80s). 'The Last Mad Surge Of Youth' may not have all too much in common with The Christians as it's folky, rooty, dusty, singer/songwriter music with a special knack for lyric that goes deeper than your ordinary grave digger and current '15 minute of shame' bopper at the charts. If not at all familiar with The Priestman's sound as of lately, it's basically grumpy old (white) men music in the vein of Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and the darn right wicked hint of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. And no, I sadly did not listen to his previous solo album.

Bitter rock with a certain 'Yorkshire' sound (the brass, the horns, the warts and all) and a little bit of country - nailed it! It's old school... or possibly more like no friggin' school at all really. I believe there's always been one of these gifted old geezer hanging around at the corner of nowhere America with a piss stained sign that reads 'will play for food'. Priestman is however the fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding, deep-fried mars-bars version of the above geezer and his latest platter reek of gorgeous dishes and well-crafted songs (you all thought I was going to type shite, huh?). Seasoned guest musicians such as Kat Gilmore (Gilmore & Roberts), Graham Gouldman (10 CC), Paul Simpson (The Wild Swans), Probyn Gregory (Brian Wilson Band - Beach Boys) and Lotte Mullan, add a certain posh attitude to the fine melodies.

It's just excellent stuff from the opening words of "At The End of The Day" to the closer of bonus track, "We Used To Be You - Part 2". The witty and dare I say catchy song and dance numbers of "Goodbye Common Sense", "Valentine Song", "Rant N Rave", "Huntin' and Gatherin' (Ain't What It used To be), "Same Circus Different Clowns", etc. are all winners in my book. Lyric-wise, definitely the notch or three above the average pack and does it get any grumpier and tongue-n-cheek then the opening words from the closing original track, "A Pint Of Bitter And Twisted, Please" and I quote, 'I was born with a face that did not fit'.

The laid-back music fit this particular Britt like a glove. You will feel mighty pleased at the end of the disc and not quite as bitter as the oldest artist to ever have been signed by a major label for a debut solo album. I salute you holy man. Highly Recommended.

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