Album Review: MONEY – Suicide Songs

By on Tuesday, 26th January 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

If you are a band from Manchester, chances are you’re going to be tarred with the same brush as those before you: Oasis, Stone Roses, Joy Division, etc., etc. The bands that do deserve this, they try to replicate past winning formulas, mostly because they work. But there also those who don’t conform and like to try do things a little differently. MONEY are a fine example of the latter.

Their sophomore album for Bella Union, ‘Suicide Songs’, is full of vast, open soundscapes that contain the inner workings of the mind on its darkest levels but more specifically, the mind of frontman Jamie Lee. Coated in references to mental health issues, heartbreak and various romanticism throughout life, Lee takes whatever comes into his mind and forms poetic lyricisms to crush your soul and also take care of it. Along with these lyrical themes, there are also musical influences taken from Indian culture, with the guitar sounding almost sitar-like from the get go in ‘I Am the Lord’, which itself is a slow introduction to this new phase of MONEY.

‘I’m Not Here’ is oddly bittersweet in its content and form. It’s as close to jubilation as MONEY get in its musical qualities: the song has a euphoric atmosphere that melds a string accompaniment with the broken guitar warble that recurs throughout the album. Layers of vocals and chanting create an almost heavenly wall that surrounds the song, it soon reaches its crescendo point where everything drops out bar more solo guitar and layered vocals, ending with reverb drenched exclamations of “I’m not here!”

’Suicide Song’, the apt halfway point of the album, is akin to that of fellow Mancunian legends The Smiths, albeit partially. There is something Morrissey-esque about the way Lee sings, “This is your, suicide song…” With added horns behind the soloing guitar, nothing but a dreary, grey Manchester afternoon is conjured in the mind. And you really do begin to see through Lee’s eyes the further the album plays. ‘Hopeless World’ is a perfect statement on the state of the world today, and along with its outro that follows a chord sequence reminiscent of the Britpop era, it’s certainly a safe statement that ties the record together nicely.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OecJg2lav34[/youtube]

Final track ‘Cocaine Christmas and an Alcoholic’s New Year’ is one which is certainly not on the upbeat scale. A piano is sparingly played, while another horn section slowly takes it over amidst wails of “and I’m wasting all my time, on cocaine at Christmas, and bottles of wine”. The song is quaintly endearing in its ability to remain sombre, even as it references being “happy as a child.” (You can grab the live version of the song from the performance presented in the video in this previous MP3 of the Day post from earlier this month.)

The qualities from their debut record ‘The Shadow of Heaven’, which was acclaimed for its depth and etherealness, are all but lost on this record. On their debut, MONEY approached the songwriting with the finesse of Grizzly Bear and the mind of New Order. In contrast, with ‘Suicide Songs’, they take this musical formula and see more of their own unique approach coming out resulting in a further, darker development in what makes MONEY talk.

7/10

‘Suicide Songs’ is out this Friday, the 29th of January, on Bella Union. The band will be on tour in the UK in February to support this new release. For more coverage on MONEY on TGTF, follow this link.

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