Friday, 24 May 2013
Shameless Self Promotion: 1
David Ashley over on 'Cathedrals of Sound' recently voted 'Alaska' as one of his Top 20 'Desert Island Discs'
You can buy 'Alaska; here.
13: Alaska by Miracle Mile 2003
This was a tough one . I've got a real soft spot for the pre Marcus Bicycle Thieves as it is the discovery bit (bought on impulse after a review in Q) and Candids as it was never off the car stereo as my future wife and I drove around California , also I've always been a sucker for songs about famous people.
When I did the list I originally chose Limbo (Lights of Home one of the best things Trev and Marcus have done) , however last night I made the mistake of playing Alaska and it has gone and sneaked in the back door, so I've had to post this before I play another one and have to do a rewrite..
The cover has you peering between leaves in on someone's private memories which is what listening to the lp is like. It always gives me a sense of looking back , a mood that tunes into my own memories so that the words start to evoke specific times , places and details , piggy backing on Trevor Jones's original intentions.
The instrumentation is smooth without ever being bland, ranging for the stark piano or guitar to the layered ,where each new listen brings a discovery or a new/forgotten delight.
Seventeen songs and the quality never dips. Ones that I was less keen on initially grow to be firm favourites where initial go to tunes become old friends.
Anyway here are my five favourites moments
1) The chorus and the fade out of Alaska a one scene story - "a simple truth or a telling lie"
2) The backing vocals to Wilful like being wrapped in a duvet , and another great fade out
3) The guitar playing on the intro to weather wise before it kicks into a completely different direction (with another killer chorus)
4) The slightly skitterish backing beat to Malkovich and the slight pause before "high hopes come crashing down"
5) Not my memory or my history but a sadness and celebration to be shared on the so personal it is almost painful Sister Song
Anyway you can buy the lp direct from Miracle Mile's website here and I'd recommend also investing in a bottle of malt to accompany. In fact whilst you are there I'd buy the lot
Toronto Tim Replies:
A tough choice indeed...
You hit the nail squarely on the head with your comment about integrating personal introspection/memories with that of a songwriter/poet/artist. It's a rare but extraordinary experience when that "connection" is made...
I love your "5 favorite moments!" Wicked difficult! Mind if I give it a go?
1: Alaska - ditto: intro & outro - swirling, icy atmospherics entwined with warmest guitar tones ever. And that chorus!
2: Weatherwise - Melvin's phenomenal pedal steel throughout, especially the soaring solo and outro following Becca's "Hope floats" cameo. Fantastic playful lyrics, "Kiss my ass and call me shorty, coming up fast approaching forty." Who says MM has no sense of humor?
3: Boo Said - chimes & drums right after "That was the moment..." followed by the haunting lyric, "The white swan joined me on the road and twenty feet above it flew, Stayed there for a mile and oh, I swear that it was..."
4: Mermaid - MC's glorious church organ & piano throughout. Astonishingly perceptive lyric.
5: Sister Song: right after "Scattershot memories coming alive" haunting mellotron seeps into "The day you got lost, the day you got found." Also, TJ's stirring vocal - "Go sister... Go!" Finally, the delicate little guitar outro. Perfect. Most profoundly affecting song I've ever heard...
What I like most about Trevor Jones's songs is the unique ability to reconnect me to the past, my own one and even someone else's. Few people like him can create hand-crafted, profound epiphanies, made of memories (his own and the listener's), of quotes and of subtle references which make up full stories. Vice versa, he can take a story (any story) and deconstruct it into lyrics, ranging from the familiar to the highly literate. And it all makes perfect sense.
A beautiful record. Although Marcus was onboard with Slow Fade, this is the album that brings his talents to the fore. It really does sound rich and 'expensive'.
The title track is one of their best but my standout tracks are 'Beautiful Mirage'. I adore the sound of that intro. Takes me back to my childhood in the sixties. Memories of some kids tv programme that I still haven't put my finger on. And 'Under My Tongue'. The sad subject matter. Those poor people keeping pictures of their loved ones under their tongues until their images fade away. Gets me everytime.
'Sister Song'. A song so personal I feel like I shouldn't be listening.
With such a strong back catalogue Miracle Mile are one of those very few artists that will have votes for favourite album pretty much split evenly, I would think.