This is a vinyl reissue of the band's second album which also marks the 10th anniversary of the record. It was released to coincide with Record Store Day 2020, sadly, one of many events blighted by the ravages of Covid-19.
Of it, songwriter Simon Aldred says he wanted a more coherent album than the band's debut (‘Thirst For Romance’) which he regards as stylistically schizophrenic. He recalls the sense of urgency he felt at the time: “I thought, if I don’t state my case now I’ll never get that opportunity again.”.
For the songs he drew upon his experiences of traveling alone by rail in Europe through cities like Berlin and Rome. He also admits to being heavily influenced by Scott Walker’s late 60s work and the atmospherics of film soundtracks.
The mood is primarily downbeat but the life-affirming Black Fang is a stand out while The Night They Buried Sadie Clay has a winning mix of lush strings and twangy guitar. Another winner is Only A Mother Could which is rendered with a compelling driving beat.
Although in the opening song, We Sleep on Stones Aldred sings "I made my peace with Jesus long ago", any notion that he has found religion evaporates with the savage My God Betrays in which God is likened to a malevolent crowd-pleaser who strangles the light from my day.
There are confessional moments too. Aldred says that Kissing Strangers "references my days a young gay man, staggering between bars but yearning for something more.”
This is a classy album by any standards and makes it all the sadder that we have to speak about this fine band in the past tense.
Cherry Ghost's website