They’re getting closer; “those heady days of socially un-distanced live performances“, as the press release for Thom Morecroft’s latest single so eloquently puts it, are surely on the horizon? For now, we can all just about recall what intimate and raw gigs were like. And, should we need an immediate reminder, you need look no further than today’s Sonic Breakfast track.
The Beast (live) has been part of Thom’s live repertoire for a little while and was released as a single last month. Written when he was just 17 in response to growing up with an alcoholic Dad, it’s a song that contains an almost-uneasy vulnerability. You sense that there’s therapy in the making every time that Thom plays this tune. And don’t doubt that those growing up in similar situations will identify with the desperation and wasted optimism within. Here, on the stage of Studio 2 in Liverpool, with just an acoustic guitar and a powerful, soaring voice, Thom belts it all out.
He’s in perky and positive mood when we briefly exchange E-mails. “I’ll probably be getting a haircut as soon as restrictions are lifted.“, says Thom. “Definitely missing live gigs. It’s been a bit of a funny year so far, but it’ll get better.”
Yep, it’s getting better all the time and should you find yourself with a little time on your hands this weekend, don’t hesitate to check out some of the many Beatles’ covers that Thom has recorded and added to YouTube during lockdowns. There’s some neat collaborations and some sterling work in reaching the high notes of ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ on offer there. It all rather flies in the face of my observations about cover versions made just yesterday (here).
But The Beast (Live) is a total original. Let’s revel in the rawness of intimate art this Friday.
Whenever I’ve visited Liverpool (which was with some frequency pre-Covid), I’ve spied the ‘Yellow Submarine’ sitting proudly on the Royal Albert Docks. A reconfigured narrow boat, it’s now used as accommodation for those desperate to get an overnight psychedelic Beatles fix on the Mersey. I’d always wondered what it was like inside the boat.
I now have to wonder no more. For The Banshees, an indie duo from up that way, have filmed the video for one of their latest releases, You’re Wrong, from the boat. In the opening stills, we see Vinny and Paul clamber aboard before then giving us a self-produced, guided and somewhat magical tour of the mystery space. It looks much bigger than I ever imagined; Liverpool’s very own tardis.
The Banshees duo come with impressive CVs. They’ve years of experience playing bit parts in other prominent Scouse acts but you suspect that they’ve really now found their mojo with their own indie scribbles. In ‘You’re Wrong’, Paul’s effortless guitar riffing acts as a perfect counter for Vinny’s deliberately underplayed vocal.
They’ve got something to say as well. ‘You’re Wrong’ is about being aware of your own insecurities, realising that opinions are only words and you can’t please everybody. It’s a sentiment that’s massively bought to the fore towards the end of the track when Vinny sings, “You only got one life to live so you better get together and you better give some time, It’s time, Fall in love with yourself, Take care of your health and don’t you know that you’ll be fine. Just fine.”
When I ask The Banshees about the last thing they did that was wrong, they’re defensively yet jokingly adamant. “The last thing we did wrong was nothing,” says Vinny. “We’re always right…listen to the song…it’s everyone else that is wrong hahaha.”
Listening to this tune and taking ‘on board’ its message does seems like an ideal Thursday thing to do.
Being neither a musician nor a poet, I had no idea what an ‘Anacrusis’ was until I started to dig beneath the new track from Mt. Wolf.
The Beatles threw one into ‘Yellow Submarine’; those words ‘in the’ that precede the rest of the verse we know and love are an anacrusis. They’re the pick-up before a downbeat; the first but unstressed syllables of a lyrical verse. In a broader sense, they are the beginning of something.
There’s also a genus of moths known as ‘Anacrusis’ – never say that Sonic Breakfast doesn’t try to inform and educate eh?
I saw Mt. Wolf twice last year. Both of those gigs were at ridiculous o’clock and so (not that this should always follow), both times I could barely stand. At the Great Escape festival in Brighton, they were one of my must sees. It had been an excessive day and night of industry bashes and special gigs so all I could do was sway. Something was beginning as something was ending. Later, in the evening, I fell over and bashed my head, waking to think I was in Berlin.
The second time I saw them was up north at the Beat Herder festival. I sat in an armchair at the back of the tent, having overdone the evening considerably. I allowed their gorgeous brand of fractured, folky electronics to wash over me whilst I considered falling asleep. They picked me up before I eventually downed my tools.
I do plan to see Mt. Wolf again. I’ll try for a less bleary and blurry experience in the future. They’re a fine band occupying a Sigur Ros sort of space and I owe it to them. This is the beginning.