Although a big fan of The Sisters of Mercy and the earlier Mission albums, I have to confess that I lost touch with Wayne Hussey’s musical path a long time ago, for no other reason that there is only so much time and money to be dedicated to music these days and there is so much music to be had. Sorry Wayne! It was, therefore, an unexpected delight to find “Songs of Candlelight and Razorblades” in my weekly “to do” pile – a real change from the usual acoustic by numbers and Arctic Monkeys wannabes that seem to make up it’s bulk these days.
Hitting play sent a shiver down my spine, that voice, passionate yet world weary, liberally mixing poetic cliché with gothic romanticism, suddenly plugging me back into times and places, gigs and parties long forgotten. That’s the power of music on memory I guess. Those also familiar with The Mission back catalogue will find a lot here that they like, a lot that is reminiscent, but only in as much as the hall marks of any band are also largely the hallmarks of it’s main creator. The 12 string flourishes, heart aching vocal and subject matter may all seem familiar but here the emphasis is largely on a late night, introspective style, quiet reflections and candlelit conversations on the right side of midnight, rather than the hedonistic, all night, rock ‘n’ roll party of those formative years.
It’s nice to hear that he still hasn’t lost that wonderful romanticism, one that only exists in Victorian novels, poems of courtly love and….well, Mission songs. Tales of innocence, unrequited love, loss and longing and a spoken word piece describing Burkowskian back street ballets all backed up musically with baroque moods, sweeping strings, plaintive pianos and dark atmospherics that linger at the end of the verse as the sentiment floats away into a lonely night sky. Blimey, he’s got me doing it now!
It is interesting coming at Hussey’s music after so long away, it’s like recognising an old friend. Even though their clothes and haircut may have changed you still notice the same mannerisms and habits, fall back into easy conversation and feel immediately comfortable around them. Thanks Wayne, it’s been great catching up with you.