David J’s latest double album Missive to an Angel from the Halls of Infamy and Allure is an exciting and ambitious concept. It looks back at 36 years of his music through a cycle of songs which is at turns intensely personal, self-deprecating, confessional, profound, wry and beautiful. It is the last word of that list which best applies to I Only Hear Silence Now, a dark piano piece built from sparse notes, powerful vocals and space. Lot’s of space.
The starkness of David J’s voice is a wonderful contrast to that of Emily Jane White, one of many contributors to the album as a whole, who’s gentle ethereality seems to drift through the spaces, soften the edges of this brooding and melancholic piece and drape the whole thing in otherworldliness and classical grace.
It is such a brave use of space that allows the song to really resonate, for the emotions to seep through the song, for atmospheres to build naturally in the space between the notes and anticipation to develop as one sentence drifts off into the ether and we wait for the next to arrive.
There is real beauty in the stillness at the heart of this song, real passion being unleashed here and although this song first appeared on David’s solo debut album, Etiquette of Violence, way back in 1983, this new version certainly justifies this revisit and reinterpretation. I guess songs are never really complete, they, like their creators should be allowed to change and evolve, re-examine themselves and reflect on the past. That is what is going hear on this new version of the song and it is most certainly the point of Missive to an Angel from the Halls of Infamy and Allure.