Fathom that legendary, distinctive voice closer to the bone, introspective and personal-- over acoustic guitar, awash in a string symphony or a choral strain. This is what the Furs founder has done on his first solo effort.
This new recording of the stripped down Butler is sublime. It's dreamy, intricate, intelligent, poetic, philosophical and tender with occasional rock-based moments amidst the ambient ones. Listening with headphones to pick up on all the subtle nuances is recommended. Upon repeated spins, I found myself lost in the beauty of certain songs, kicking back and closing my eyes, getting chills. At one point, I had to remind myself to breathe. I had spoken to Butler before listening to the recording, but he hadn't prepared me to be completely blown away by it. Truly, it is an album to watch this year. Butler recorded it at Sky High Studios in upstate New York, collaborating with instrumentalist Jon Carin (Pink Floyd, Pete Townshend, Bryan Ferry) who greatly influenced the direction of the music with his shimmering guitars and keys. In an interview with Butler, he says:
"It's much gentler, fairly ambient. Basically all the songs are written on acoustic guitar, so the way I'm going out and playing it-- which is with an acoustic guitar and a keyboard, ambient noise-- is not that different from the way the record sounds... In some ways it's a lot mellower than the Psychedelic Furs records, but the lyrics are fairly dark. During the course of making it, my marriage broke up, Jon's relationship broke up, and both of our fathers died. So that informed the lyrics and the music to some degree."
Though Carin's musical landscape is resplendent and hopeful, Butler's despair and loss over recent events is evident in his poetry.
This reviewer can only beckon, "More! More!" This man has pierced my soul.
--Sharon Nichols, Music Editor, Chronogram magazine