Albums Of The Year So Far (pt.1): Featuring Brian Jonestown Massacre, Mighty High, Mid-day Veil, First Aid Kit and more…
1. James Levy & The Blood Red Rose – Pray To Be Free (Heavenly Recordings)
Speaking of nu-hippie death goddess sister acts, quirky goth-pop dreamgirls The Pierces recently crossed over to the gossamer side of the street, releasing the stellar You And I record, which is the best Fleetwood Mac record I’ve ever heard.
One the chief architects of their new sound, clearly, was James Levy, a brooding singer-songwriter whose signature tune Glorious they nicked for the album. It was the start of a beautiful relationship, at least between James and Allison, the raven-maned Pierce. The two collaborated on this fantastic collection of retro-pop songs.
Clearly influenced by Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra (or Lee and Ann-Margret), Pray To Be Free is part cowboy folk, part baroque pop, with lots of fuzzy, fizzy little love songs that alternate betwixt lust, whimsy, and late-night longing. Nothing about it suggests 2012; in whatever perfumed garden these two frolic in, it’s always 1967.
PS: here’s how you know it’s choice material: James and Allison are both as American as I am (ie. plenty) and yet, Pray To Be Free isn’t available here, at all. Import only. Too cool for the USA.
Coming tomorrow: Geoff Barton chooses his Top Five Albums Of The Year So Far.