Lurid Tales of Wrecking and Repose - Cornish Wreckers (ReachesMars)
I'll tell you about who these characters are in a minute. But first, “Lurid Tales…” is brilliant.
What a huge sound. Big breakers of broken chords ... huge, ripping silences. God, I'm hooked.
Really, I cannot emphasise this enough, “Lurid Tales…’” is a huge, majestic achievement. It's mature, gothic, simple, complex. And I'll be listening to this not just for weeks, but for years.
“Lurid Tales…” is both not at all what I expected Melbourne’s Michael Plater to be involved in, and exactly what I expect from him. And no, that's not a contradiction.
Here we have an album which is big, dangerous and shot with introspective examination of normal people's motives. Fascinating to hear gorgeous guitar effects in such close proximity to the occasional deliberately bad chord or off note. Talk about “the centre can not hold’”… Oh, yes.
Full disclosure (which always sounds like I'm about to be arrested while trying on a pair of trousers in the change rooms): I know Michael Plater (and, indeed, Tony Millman) and have seen him many times, including in three capital cities. But this album is principally Millman's brainchild.
Believe me when I say, if I didn't like what I was hearing, I'd either tell you, or I'd apologise to the band with an embarrassed “I can't review this, mate”. And I had no idea what to expect - which is exactly how I like to receive new music. Play it to me. I'll know fairly quickly.
I'll say up front, then, that you may not get this record. Not at first, or even on second listen. It's not designed so you can yell '1-2-3-4!' and start bouncing about the room, get all dizzy and fall on the arthritic cat. “Lurid Tales…” is slow.
Also, the wilful bastards have opened “Lurid Tales…” with a slow, gradual hammering acoustic, like the accretion of a century's tides. A grim vocal tells the tale as two guitars rise, teeter, and crash down upon us. This is their idea of a gentle introduction. In actual fact it's a hard-nosed challenge: get it, or fucking don't.
But: you'll need patience, and a bit of hush from the rest of the ruddy family (give em $50 and send them round to the local meth dealer, they'll be roaming the streets shouting at pigeons for the next week). However, if you're one of those rawk'n'rawll rools only types, then ... well. Get the Ramones’ “It's Alive” set.
I'll qualify the ‘”folk” tag, by the by; we're not talking Redgum or Horny Toad and the Claim Jumpers here. No, we're talking the kind of folk music which you don't think of as folk, not really; the stuff
that's beautiful and ugly and may get you dancing or swaying a lot when you're drunk. Apart from anything else, few folk outfits use sound effects so grinchly beautiful as Cornish Wreckers. I'll also
say: if you've enjoyed what Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have been up to over the last few years, or if you dig what Mick Harvey and JP Shilo have been doing... likewise, you'll enjoy 'Lurid Tales', even though Cornish Wreckers don't sound like them.
Nicked from their Facebook page:
Cornish Wreckers are Tony Millman, his sister Andrea Millman and Michael Plater. They are a band from Melbourne, Australia. Their mothers, however, were born in Cornwall. The folklore of the original Cornish Wreckers, from which the band takes its name, dates from around the early 19th Century. Locals were said to have displayed false lights on the beaches and the cliffs along the Cornwall coast in order to confuse and lure ships onto the treacherous rocks. When the ships foundered, the Cornish Wreckers would then row out and board the stricken vessels and seize the cargo. The Cornish Wreckers would also kill all the crew onboard in order to settle any possible arguments about ownership.
The stories of The Wreckers is consistent with the “Folk Horror Chain”, a set of criteria proposed by Adam Scovell for defining agenre of cinema called 'Folk Horror' ... The 'Folk Horror Revival' in evidence today in movies, music and the visual arts is a very fertile cultural movement into which the band Cornish Wreckers fits with uncanny ease.
Cornish Wreckers have their own low-pulsing, heart-fibrillating sound. Here is one monstrously moving album, pretty much a journey along a series of intermingling stories. In some respects 'Lurid Tales' could almost be a radio play. They're touring UK and Europe at the moment.
Get the wallet out and get “Lurid Tales…” ; they lure you onto the rocks, cave your head in with a length of iron and ransack your ship.
The tracks are: “False Lights”; “Black Phillip”; “Into The Horizon’” “Jack Harry's Lights’”, ‘”Mother Is Dead’”, ”A Violet Plucked From Mother's Grave” and “Jack The Ripper”.
There's a swag of clips on YouTube, too.
Oh. You may be wondering about Plater's interest in the 19th Century. If you have an interest in Jack the Ripper... dig this.