I suppose the trouble with getting used to watching an artist play small venues and coffeeshops armed with an acoustic guitar and little else is that you associate them with a certain troubadourish, folky-acoustic sound. But of course it is only when they get into the studio that they have the tools at hand to properly flesh out their tunes and create the version of their sound that they have always been carrying around in their head but have as yet been unable to communicate to the public at large.
Which is why listening to the fiendishly titled brace of songs that go under the name of A Nice Way to Spend The Apocalypse was such a revelation. I knew Ali Finneran was good but I wasn’t expecting this. I’m not sure what I was expecting to be honest but that is what is so great about music, it is able to really take you off guard. Well, the best music is anyway.
Me Myself & I is a gorgeous slice of slightly hazy, west-coast infused cosmic pop, a lone voice gathering around it textures and layers as it moves forward, drifting electro-washes, rich banks of close harmonies and brooding bass pulses, distant chiming guitars and no shortage of grandeur. That’s the word, grandeur. For this is not a song based on chords and progressions, sure they are there in the heart of it all, but in its finished form this is a song built on drama and epic-ness…that’s a word right?
It comes with Civil Liberties as its travelling companion, a lilting and slightly lighter piece but swirling with the same hazy, hippy, folkedelia and wide-screen cinematics and reminding us to live for the moment. And that is the thing with both these songs, not only is the lyrical component reflective and life-affirming, the music is built of the same sentiments. All too often the music is used just as a vehicle to drive the lyrics and bearing little sonic relevance to the message being delivered. Here the words and the music are two equal halves of the package, just as they should be.
As fantastic as it was unexpected, consider my guard well and truly off!