The Hang of Music: Fisher of Kings

I’ve run out of funny ways to say I’m a latey, late latepants, and am publishing this on a Friday for no good reason.

Hopefully, running out of ways to sayit means I’m not going to do it again. YAY!

On that note, onto this week’s album, M. Ward’s “Hold Time”. Praise Be!

There are a lot of religious overtones in this album. The thing is, for a damn dirty atheist, I don’t mind that much. The bibble has influenced a lot of very compelling and enjoyable fiction – Castiel, for example, is awesome. But I never yet thought I’d be rocking out to something so overtly Catholic Schoolboy as “Hold Time”. The opening song even talks about the original sinners, and I’m going to be polite and not let my inner, outer or intermediary skeptics talk about the madness of original sin.

But bibblicle stuff is definitely going to be a theme.

Not on track two, though! The 50s swing on “Never Had Nobody Like You” is very cinematic and enjoyable, and definitely lends charm to a sincere and chilled sounding love song. So much so that I’m surprised that it hasn’t been overplayed to buggery on adverts and films. Very nice, definitely approved.

I have to say, though, “Hold Time” – the song – does live up to it’s boring, boring name. Sure, the track is about wanting to stop time and hold onto the moment. But the music just makes me think that he was trying to hold a few sustains until he could work out what he should do next. Like actually play something.

My first thought, when listening to “Rave On”, was that “rave on” was the new cool way of telling people, quasi-politely, to fuck off, and that I was seriously behind with my slang. But I could not have been more wrong; it’s the old way of saying “awesome!” Presumably this is how **wiki’s singer’s real name**… Wow, Matthew Ward? I thought that M. Ward was a reference to a hospital ward or something. Wow… Anyway, presumably he says this, but I’ve never heard the phrase rave on. Presumably Buddy Holly* did too, considering this is a Buddy Holly cover. As opposed to a cover of Buddy Holly.

And I know it’s not my job to do comparative cover reviews, but that piano solo in the Buddy Holly Version is so bad, I’m compelled to give the points to M. Ward on this one. Truly bad.

The appearances of Zooey Deschanel are nice. If anything she is underused as a performer – only being on 2 songs, and both times being completely inaudible. Unlike Lucinda Williams on “Oh Lonesome”, who makes the song positively her own, and is allowed her own voice and to tell her own story. The song itself, by the way, welcomely deconstructs the melodramatic sentiment of the title.

I’m probably going to be spending the next few days trying to work out what the Fisher of Men is. I mean, in universe he’s a real person; he’s not a fictional being in every sense of the word, like Daring Do. But what is he? Oh wait, of course: It’s so obvious! All the religious symbolism; the obsession with fish; it’s JEEBUS! OK, this still isn’t irritating – I’ve listened to Paramore, can handle this – but this is starting to get a bit compulsive nonetheless.

“Epistemology” is a thoroughly religious song, from its referencing of Paul to its happy go-lucky everything has turned out well. So why doesn’t this bother me? Why is this song still one of my favourite on the album? I’ve been thinking about that and I think I have an answer. It’s because, above all else, it’s honest.

It’s about someone who, like the rest of us, had no idea what he was doing in life, and, unlike many of us, managed to strike it lucky. And he really, genuinely, believes that God had a hand in it. But he’s still living in the now, and for whatever reason, he honestly wants to sing a song about how happy he is, and detailing what has made him happy in his life. It just so happens, that for him, it’s God and “you”. Whoever “you” are.

“Blake”? As in the poet? If so, then I appreciate that he is merely parroting another’s views, and as such not necessarily reflecting his own views on death. BUt if that’s what he ACTUALLY thinks… Well, I’m not going to say anything about the lyrics, but I’d say for a better thought out and more musical approach to death, try Jeffrey Lewis. But I may be letting my inner atheist out too much in my dislike here.

Like the Caged Demonwolf, my inner atheist is sitting on the coffee table of my mind and ranting while everyone else is in the other room.

I really like that the album is bookended with “For Beginners” and “Outro”. That shows both care and style, and is exactly the sort of thing that gets you marks here.

And here we are at the end of Outro, a Bond theme wannabe. Do you remember the 60s, when film soundtracks were big and brassy? You remember a few years ago, when Alex Turner and Miles Kane tried to bring them back? This is like that. Big and cinematic. And this is the point at which I revel that this whole review has been one huge “Yahtzee Croshaw and his reviewing robots” reference. And if you can find the link that originally made this joke, then you are a better man than I.**

I’d be lying if I said I’d had no trouble with this album, but the trouble has (mostly) come from the content. Sure, I have some longstanding criticisms and doubts about what he’s saying, but I’ve expressed that here and elsewhere. What’s important is that the music is all there and alright. I’d be happier if my problems with albums were more regularly so disciplined in the ways they chose to piss me off. So Kudos.

* Well, originally Sonny West, but hey.

** Seriously, I think it’s gone! Please link if you knnow what the fuck I’m talkig about!


Posted on February 24, 2012, in Music, The Hang of Music and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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