Pickled Ginger is the opening track as well as the instrumental feel good song, completely setting a tone for the entire album. What I like about opening tracks is you either get one of two things: this individual song can stand alone as the bridge that will connect you to the rest of the album or completely deceive you in a good or bad way about what you thought the album may sound like as a whole. In Chris Helme’s case he deceived and delivered in a miraculous fashion. Not only does he start off with an instrumental piece (risky, for no matter if you are a fan of vocals or not, but it should set the general tone of the whole acoustic atmosphere for you), – which most wouldn’t give a chance at all, – but here Chris Helme is making you want to venture forward; what will his voice sound like after these years have passed, what will the writing uphold to?
Any musician, being in the music world for as long as Helme has, comes to a point when he’s been away for so long, you wonder whether he can come back, or whether he still has that special piece waiting to be written. While listening to The Rookery I was in a constant state of peaceful awareness of how, – even though some of the best music and heartfelt can be made by machine, – it is so nice to come back from the mechanical heaven to an oasis of strumming guitars and sewn together liquid words.
The Spindle and the Cauldron equipped with “the devil’s daughter” are all about being lonely yet looking in. It’s the best of both emotions, and you are in return being taken along for the ride. There is a touch of magic to how the arrangement presents itself. Almost as if you were to step into another place, – whether you’re dreaming or wide awake, – without hesitation you would walk forward to touch the flame that started glowing green. Pleased, which is track 7, it leads you on a dark blues riddled spin way of descent as you land on your feet. Slowly dancing to the unsettled tune of a broken juke-box, that was supposed to play the happier times but instead “Pleased” radiates forth and encapsulates your every bone.
Organic songwriting has been thrown around like tissues for some time, but until the album’s over, you actually can’t seem to think of anything else that could sum up a record. Chris Helme, I applaud you. Some can only dream of making such a prophetic album, while he succeeded with an acoustic guitar and sometimes just happened to be hooked up to a fuzz pedal.
The track-list alone could prove a story, you are opened to a feeling of being in any place except where you are. Which is a good thing, especially when you close your eyes and breath in the tiny atoms of vibrating sound-waves that are escaping through your headphones into your mind, feeding you.
Keep in mind that some albums are enjoyed roughly for the beats or the voices alone. Enjoy this one in solitude, out of the clatter of the day, just sit back or lie on a floor and press play.
Out August 27th on Little Num Num Music. Go and treat yourself.