Mercer’s voice is relentlessly “Showtime” throughout, regardless of what his band’s playing
A thumping release: romantic, overblown and full of Sturm und Drang. It’s a great record and one that possesses a remarkable opening track in A Flower in a Glove. This behemoth is nine minutes long and boasts a lot of mood swings…We’re talking J.A. Caesar opera here… The sonic pressure built up by the fuzzy guitars and some serious thumping of the pedal drum is nothing less than tremendous.
It’s all a bit Marquee Moon, but when did a band last try pulling that off?
The Sensitive Girls is another angry growl; singer Carey Mercer’s voice dramatizes wildly; his vox are a heady mix of Nick Cave hollers, Tim Buckley’s baritone yowls and Phil Lynott’s sneering stylisations. Odetta’s War might initially seem more reflective, but it’s a reflection that can all too quickly turn to bitter recrimination and wailing accusations are on the verge of being spat out. Rebel Horns, by virtue of its fractured, cod-dub spine is a marvellous track (especially when the guitar run kicks in and adds a refreshing counterpoint). Lear, In the Park (I’d presume from the track’s softness the title refers to Shakespeare, not perving) offers a welcome respite before the heart-surge of Styled by Dr. Roberts blasts out like an electrified muezzin call. Half way through this song, the tempo drops and all becomes ethereal and floating, albeit with flashes of metallic grandeur. Lear in Love is a cavalry charge of guitars before things get schmaltzy with the aid of a girls’ chorus. But still, Mercer’s voice is relentlessly “Showtime” throughout, regardless of what his band’s playing; he croons shamelessly through Violent Psalms and screeches through Paul’s Tomb. The latter song is a tour de force, built up to be some sort of confessional that stomps and splutters up to creating a crescendo of noise at the end.