It might seem a bit unusual to write about the best record of 2010 while it is still September. On the other hand, this is the place where we do everything but go with the flow. Therefore, I decided to no longer wait and share with you the most amazing, thrilling and complex piece of music I have experienced this year.
A one man band started out with a stunning Thirst For Romance about three years ago. Simon Aldred was the one to blame for those simple yet brilliant thirteen tracks: a debut hard to ignore. It was lyrically wise, intimate when it came to overall sound and there was not one moment of trying too hard in there. No wonder it stole my heart completely from the very first time I gave it a listen. When I realised there already was a follow up, my hopes were high. I hoped for something true and pretty, something delicate and soft. A set of short stories wrapped in warm and comfortable blanket of chords. What I got was an epic novel with multiple layers of sound and disturbingly depressive lyrics. I cannot say I liked this record. Have been dragged down into the bottom of the ocean with it, turned inside out and then left alone in the abyss. Have been seduced with this theatrically arranged strings, followed the distinctive voice and lost my way in dark woods of an unknown land. Have been found again on a desert where grains of sand prickled my eyes and filled my throat so I could not speak. Have been choking and stumbling. Have been destroyed into tiny little pieces. Have died and been born again countless times while listening to Beneath This Burning Shoreline. I hated Aldred for taking me on this surreal trip and then loved him for the very same reason. All those mixed emotions reminded me of times when I first read Henry Miller’s trilogy The Rosy Crucifiction. The orgasmic beauty of words crashed into putridity and debaucherry. Paraphrasing Michael Hutchence’s words: elegantly devastated.
The charm of Cherry Ghost’s second record lies deeper than nicely constructed melodies and intriguing stories. It takes abnormal amounts of sensitivity to build songs about death, murder and disapointment with such grace and class. Aldred’s greatest achievement here is being able to make it look like it does not need any excessive effort. He is fearless when it comes to explore uncomfortable territories, intentionally chosing forgotten paths and lonely roads. The music itself is a fairytale soundtrack. More sophisticated and colorful than the debut, but also elegant and gentle. And when you imagine the dark lyrics confronted with the dreamy sound the result is still a fairytale, but twisted, disturbing, kinda Tim Burton style. While I loved the simplicity of Thirst For A Romance, the follow up surprises with maturity and integrity. It is a new chapter, fresh take on the subject with admirable influences. The carefully handled details, both in music and lyrics, make this journey unforgettable. And you will crave for more when the story of Beneath This Burning Shoreline softly fades away with instrumental Strays At The Ice Pond.