Thursday, 14 May 2009

If you like a minor key, you'll love these songs - First And Last And Always - Sisters of Mercy

Advantages: An antidote to 21st Century 'gothic rock'

Disadvantages: none

Hey 'Goth Kids' out there you really ought to have a good trawl through your dad's record collection and see if he has a copy of this. You might need something called a record player to get any sound out of the strange (eldritch ha ha), black (fittingly) disc that will come out of the big flat cardboard sleeve. 
Go on, get your dad to get the record player out of the loft and set it up. 

Prepare yourself for 'celtic' guitar riffs laid over a driving bass and solid drum machine and Andrew Eldritch's forced deep vocals 

The album starts with Black Planet - the song sounds dull, but stay with it, it is a nice warm up and brings you into the 2nd track Walk Away, I like the drum machine roll at the beginning which goes towards a lifting riff of guitar. The song feels quick and hurried and it comes to rather abrupt end, but the message is as succinct as the song. Which brings us now to No Time to Cry. the bass line at the beginning sounds like someone hiding around a corner in the dark, but eventually the guitar comes in and switches on the lights, just a little of course. A Rock and a Hard Place sees the jangliness being taken off the guitars a little and a harder edge to the riffs. If you are listening to this on an old vinyl record Marian is the last track on side one (of my copy at least). It is a great track to end something with and the beauty of vinyl records is that they have two halves, effectively two beginnings and two ends, but more of that later. Marian has Eldritch's vocals deep in despair - it really needs to be listened to on the album as opposed to any live versions - Eldritch has not a naturally deep voice, and he can only pull this one off in the studio. 
First and Last and Always opens side two - and what an opening - I love repetitive guitar riffs and the build up of the drums is good, but could tease a little more, as can be heard on live renditions of this song. Possession comes next and is slow and menacing with the feel of a back street, film-noir if you like, all cobblestones and contrast. Nine While Nine, I just don't get this song and it feels to me something that was destined to fill up a B-side somewhere and actually ended up on the album. Logic is so literal it needs putting away, but it is all part of the landscape of this album, so it doesn't go into Room 101. Side two ends with Some Kind of Stranger and opens with droning almost bagpipe guitars, then Eldritch's voice spoils it, but try through the darkness to listen to the lyric. this is one beautiful song. 

So there it is, except - 

If you get this on vinyl 

START with SIDE TWO and end with side one: 
(or CD play order 6,7,8,9,10,1,2,3,4,5) 

First and Last and Always is the right track to start this album with and Marian is the right one to end with. 


Summary: This is a classic 'goth' album and should be in the record collection of any aspiring young goth muso

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