This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Richard Butler January 30, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
As you’ll know I’m not mad keen on nostalgia. That was then this is now, which is probably the response of the perennial nostalgic – isn’t it? So when some years back I heard that Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs and later Love Spit Love, had released a solo album, his first, I was unmoved.
Now, and I’ve mentioned this before on the CLR, I once had the disheartening experience of being part of a tiny crowd who turned out to see a later incarnation of the Furs at Vicar Street sometime in the past four or five years. It was a night U2 played Croke Park and one could, perhaps, suggest charitably that a good part of the Furs natural demographic were otherwise engaged. Or perhaps less charitably that their day had come and gone, although I see that they’re still piling them in in the US and elsewhere.
And to be honest the gig was pretty grim. Butler was laying on his usual ‘expressive’ vocal and gestural style to an extent that was nearly criminal, destroying songs through excessive facial and bodily mugging. Trust me, you had to be there. Or, no, you really didn’t have to be there. Meanwhile the guitarist was on an atonal day… something I’d never really clocked to prior to the gig. That man likes the discordant. A lot. Now I also like the discordant. But… there are limits. The keyboardist appeared to think she was at another gig entirely, which was odd because as I recall the keyboard was on the right and close to the front of the stage. The only ones making what I considered an effort were Butler the younger (his brother), on bass and the drummer. And I thought it telling that it was this latter Butler who mingled after the gig in the bar. So all told it was a relief to leave and I tell you no word of a lie if I say that I couldn’t listen to a PF album for the best part of two years until the memories had begun to fade…
Anyhow, long story shorter, I eventually got around to purchasing the eponymous Richard Butler solo album and was surprised at how much I liked it. It’s not the Furs, that’s for sure. Butler has always had his folk edge and this has that in spades as well as some nice electronica in the back ground. For this we can ascribe credit to Jon Carin, sometime collaborator with Pink Floyd apparently and therefore on principle purveyor of all that is wrong in popular music (I jest, but only to an extent – not being a Pink Floyd fan). But this is a soft, calm and meditative excursion. A few of the tracks are PF inflected, Good Days, Bad Days and Broken Aeroplanes perhaps to the greatest degree albeit they move along at a slow enough pace. And that’s no harm. But others like California and Breathe simply aren’t. His voice is higher and that’s a change too, but in a good way. There’s a hint of the Church… perhaps that’s the Pink Floyd influence, but it’s more acoustic, perhaps more expansive, less tightly wound than the Church’s recent offerings – a surprise given that it’s a solo album.
I’d like to hear more in this vein.
Good Days, Bad Days