Highlights: Barbara Anne, Jesus In The Courtyard, My Mother Was The Moon, Lorraine
I most certainly enjoyed King Dude’s debut album from last year, but equally I found it somewhat hard to concentrate: Love just sounded like Death In June. And I would be okay with that – the problem was, it sounded too much like Death In June. While the aesthetics largely remain the same on Burning Daylight (darkness, more darkness and an acoustic guitar), T.J. Cowgill did something about his voice: suddenly it’s all brutal, rough, chesty – in fact, very much like a Satanic version of Timber Timbre (which I don’t really mind). No, I wouldn’t say that the songs are better than those he recorded for his debut, but I welcome the change.
After an obligatory (though unnecessary) introduction, we get straight into it: the noisy and effective “Holy Land” is perfectly summarized by the album’s cover. It’s that sort of Holy Land. Then comes the murderous, morose ballad attractively titled “Barbara Anne”. A simple, repetitive guitar rhythm and a simple, repetitive vocal melody – and yet I’m absolutely mesmerized. The rest is more of the same, and it’s all good. The cold, sinister groove of “Jesus In The Courtyard”, the black, psychedelic, smoothly sung dream-pop of “My Mother Was The Moon” (a bit like Damien Youth at his best), the sweet and fucked up “Lorraine”, the deceptively uplifting closer “Lord I’m Coming Home” (you can imagine the lyrics) which is like Johnny Cash singing for the dead.
Overall, this is very lovely folk music given a doomed, Gothic, ugly makeover. Burning Daylight is a relatively short album, clocking in under 34 minutes. However, with the mood so intensely miserable you will feel you’ve heard enough. I guess if I saw this one lying in a record store, I would just ignore it. And would be wrong. Never mind the stupid fonts that belong in an unimaginative death metal album – this is just great, well-written music. Neofolk or whatever it’s called. Listening to it is a bit like being lost in the woods at night and actually enjoying it.