A Raw And Captivating Look At The Human Mind
Processing the darkest of thoughts into music has been a long standing method of coping, building and recovering from the lowest ebbs of humanity. The times where we wonder how to go on, where we see no way out and the times we feel overwhelmed by everything life is throwing at us.
Those moments are the ones you don’t see in the Hollywood films and they’re certainly not mentioned when you’re growing up, learning to navigate the world and all that it holds. Yet it’s those moments that help to define who we are as human beings, we’re not characterised by our physical attributes or the amount of money in our bank accounts, but by our ability to feel and be hurt, and how we deal with that.
For a band such as MONEY this is the question they pose themselves day after day, dealing with human emotion in a world so overwrought with technology, in an age where image has transcended the usual parameters. Lead by the poetic lyrics and vocals of frontman Jamie Lee, the Manchester trio have harvested a devout following from their heartbreaking and honest tales of uncompromising hardship.
2013’s debut 'The Shadow Of Heaven' was a spiritual tour de force of artistic rock, combining lo-fi aesthetics with a somber yet captivating body of lyrics and melodies to form one of the most underrated releases of the year. Returning with “Suicide Songs”, MONEY have drawn from a challenging recording process that saw alienation and self-doubt creep into their every move to create a raw and captivating look at the human mind, and its unrelenting approach make it a truly remarkable record.
From the opening choral rhythms of “I Am The Lord”, the rich and dense production shines through, elegantly formulated like a clear mint on a summer’s day. It’s a formula that is replicated time and time again throughout the album, and effortlessly entwines itself with the brittle tales of desperation and longing.
“You Look Like A Sad Painting On Both Sides Of The Sky” is the campfire song for a generation of struggling twenty-somethings, bringing together the classic songwriting style of a Bob Dylan with the weight of an Elliot Smith record. MONEY’s beauty lies squarely within this realm, and there’s not many out there who could do it any better.
Allowing tracks to breathe and form in an almost natural cyclic pattern, it’s evident that MONEY have taken the lessons learnt from their debut and built squarely on top of them, with the free-flowing “Night Came” and “I’m Not Here” encapsulating that penchant for creatively expanding arrangements.
Within such graceful stylings is the brutal realities of frontman Lee’s poetic tales, and it’s hard to gloss over or ignore such painful confessions from the mind of a troubled 21st century male. “Suicide Song” is a particularly dark serenade, Lee crooning “I know some of us need to turn the light into dark, it’s remarkable that some of us can’t” as the creaking brass trudges along, sounding as defeated as the wordsmith himself. Through the record, the track stands as the tipping point, the sheer hopeless moment of unrelenting darkness at the pit of the human spirit, both breathtaking and yet harrowing at the same time.
Similarly “Hopeless World” and it’s broken refrain of sacrifice and limitations is as dark as it is hopeful, asking “maybe we could fall asleep and give up the world, but I just wouldn’t know who to ask” delicately balanced to tug at the human soul. It’s expertly done, yet disguised as a drunk shouting at their local bar.
Album standouts “All My Life” and lead single “I’ll Be The Night” posses an unmistakable sense of upbeat reflection after such desolation and despair, drenched in optimistic echoes of life after death. It’s bittersweet lyrical reflection on the purity after death is staggering with the dexterous couplet “I'm married to the sky, I'm a servant of the hour, I'm open as time, and I'm perfect without power” encapsulating all that makes this album so revered. Bookended by the closing-time chants of “Cocaine Christmas And An Alcoholics New Year”, it’s a bleary ending to an incredibly dark portrait of desperation and darkness.
What MONEY manage to explore in one record, is the ultimate question that plagues human existence; the meaning of why we’re here and confronting the demons that hide in all of our closets. Beautifully painful in it’s execution, the incredibly rich record pulls from the bleakest depths of human emotion to form incredibly rich landscapes punctured by the daggering power of Jamie Lee’s poetry.