Now, you may have to stay with me on this one.
When I die, as I realise I must, and go to heaven, as I know I will,* I will be hearing ‘A Watery Down Part II‘ on the escalators upwards, and probably constantly afterwards.
‘Unlikely Mothers‘ is flat out the best (as in, my favourite) album of 2014. I love it so much that I even bought the double vinyl LP despite having no means to play such an item (I’m giving it to my friend who does – his initial reaction to it was, shall we say, less enthusiastic, but he’s beginning to enjoy them now. Hence my opening caveat).
Big Blood create an eerie, unique sound, which perfectly matches the vocal styles created within. They find a groove, and they stick with it, except for the occasional instance when the song demands it. In some ways the music is quite ethereal, but it is more often ecstatic. There’s an angels-getting-their-hands-dirty feel about this album. They are also quite clearly having a ball.
It is not just ‘Unlikely Mothers’ which so unrelentingly floats my boat. Check out their page on the Free Music Archive – I particularly draw your attention to the album ‘Dark Country Music.’
On this 11-track album, there are 5 utter classics. Let me tell you, I’m very fussy about naming a song an utter classic. For an album to have 2 is rare enough, 3 is proper unusual – but 5?!?!
I’ll also point you to ‘Old Time Primitives‘ too, as there are some stunning songs on there too.
The two albums mentioned above are much more country, more ‘New Weird America’ (remember that?). The songs are generally shorter, but still with the same ecstatic vocals, although I have to single out ‘Coming Home Pt III‘ off Dark Country Magic as possibly the most heartbreaking vocal performance I’ve ever heard. Utterly transcendent.
Colleen Kinsella sings like an angel, pure and simple – not one of those sanitised, Aled Jones singing the snowman type (that’s not the work of angels – maybe cherubim. I don’t know, my theological taxonomy is non-existent) but an angel that has lived. Raw, passionate, at times absolutely deranged, at others transcendentally beautiful. In possession of the full realisation of the fact that in order to understand what you’re singing about, you have to live it first, and live it truly. If you want a reference point, Joanna Newsom and Kate Bush trying to outcompete each other, but effortlessly. Caleb Mulkerin has a decent style too, although equally far from the conventional. It is fair to say, though, that to some ears, the vocals will be a dealbreaker.
In fact, as has been demonstrated above, this band is so good they make me write like a fool.
They have an etsy page where they sell some stuff, and also stuff by other people in their scene.
*I inserted that phrase specifically for the benefit of my friend for whom I’m buying the album, because I know he will appreciate it :0