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CD Feature/ Nick Grey: "Thieves among Thorns"

img  Tobias

You can debate about what constitutes happiness, but you can’t argue about sorrow: If a man’s broken and torn, then a man’s broken and torn and on “Thieves among thorn”, Nick Grey is as broken and torn as any man has ever been.

Not that his previous efforts were anything to laugh about (or “at” for that matter). But somehow, the quirky electronica of “catlandgrey” or the surreal convolutions of “Regal Daylight” always allowed for a safe return. His monstrous and monolithic colaboration with Tex La Homa’s Matt Shaw (under the 230 Devisadero disguise) might have been equally dark, but at the same time this outburst of energy and power could be understood (and undergone) as a kind of catharsis. This time, purgatory’s closed and even Mr. Bean would make a fool of himself predicting a happy ending. “We are alive” is a key phrase on “Thieves among thorns”, but it is more of a mantra you stubornly recite to convince yourself of something you don’t really believe in - only seconds after being spoken, the words fall apart into the disilusionment of “We are a lie”. If you ever had the feeling of being too weak to even get out of your chair or if you’ve ever had the desire to have someone else carry you only for a little while, then you’ll be able to relate to this: Plucked bass notes walk with drooling heads, sad melodies on the piano drip like a dried out tap, oboes and clarinets wail and weep, guitars strum slowly and the harmonies turn around their own axis forever and ever. Interestingly enough, shedding the largest part of his Random Orchestra has resulted in an even more classical sound for Nick, turning the album into something of a chambermusical swansong of lost love. Only the drums pouding in the distance on opener “tammuz” still mark this as folk or pop – or is it Grey’s heart battling against certain defeat?

In the end, it is the lyrics which turn the record into more than just a beautifully depressed collection of songs. After all, if you can still write poetry like this, everything is not yet lost: “I wish the rain would come/ I wish it would wash us away./ I have this pain in my head/ and it’s glaring bright black./ I’d smack my face till it bleeds/ bent over your pictures.”

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Nick Grey
Homepage: Nick Grey at MySpace
Homepage: Hand/Eye

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