|The Magic Lantern — Love of Too Much Living|
The Magic Lantern — Love of Too Much Living
© Photo by Janssem Cardoso
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Album release: 29 September 2014
Record Label: Smugglers Records
01 Harvest Moon 4:45
02 No One's Fault 4:46
03 Air at the Top 4:52
04 Stitches 5:28
05 28 Years Old 2:55
06 Different Paths 5:27
07 Alice 2:19
08 Winter 4:22
09 Scant Peace of Mind 4:56
10 Hercules 5:16
Members: Jamie Doe — Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano
♦♦♦ All tracks written and performed by Jamie Doe
♦♦♦ Produced by Max Jones & Jamie Doe
♦♦♦ All tracks recorded by Dean McCarthy except 2 & 3 recorded by Ben Capp.
♦♦♦ All tracks mixed and mastered by Dean McCarthy
♦♦♦ Design, typesetting and photography by Ollie Hammick
♦♦♦ "Very, very special" — Lauren Laverne, BBC Radio 6 Music
♦♦♦ "An exciting new talent" — Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2
♦♦♦ "Bitter sweet, beautiful music" — Verity Sharp, BBC Radio 3 Late Junction
♦♦♦ We are each of us in a process of becoming, with all that that entails however painful or uncertain. Leaving aside the seemingly paradoxical alternative of quantum mechanics, for the most part we cannot be in two places at the same time. And so coming to terms with what we’ve left behind becomes the essential act in understanding why we are where we are and in trying to chart our future course.
♦♦♦ So far, so obvious. But these are fast moving times and in our near perpetual interaction, picking out what is significant is a struggle historians of the future will burden themselves trying to understand. That is to say, only as the light of a particular period begins to fade can we start to unravel any of its broader significance. In the meantime, all we can do is our best, knowing that tomorrow hindsight will judge what we did today.
♦♦♦ Love, loss and doubt remain human constants and however attractive the digital perception of ourselves as fun–loving, empowered consumers may be, it can’t shake the very analogue reality of blood and bone human beings, our search for acceptance and a meaningful frame of reference. ‘Content is king!’ they say, well good for them — but in the hailstorm of information, creating and recreating oneself is just as difficult as it’s always been.
♦♦♦ When I was a kid, my dad used to tell me a poem, always the same one. It seemed impossibly mysterious as a child, but as I grew up it took on real significance and whenever the world threatened to close in, the words would come to me. When I left home, ten years ago now, the poem came with me and its been with me ever since along the sometimes bumpy journey of growing up and becoming a man. I discovered some years ago that it was in fact one approximately remembered stanza of a much longer poem called ‘The Gardens of Proserpine’ by Algernon Charles Swinburne.
♦♦♦ As a whole the poem is beautiful, telling the story of Persephone and her garden of ever flowering poppies, but for me the stanza as I learnt it from my dad remains elemental:
From love of too much living
From hope and fear set free
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no man lives forever
That dead men rise up never
And even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.
♦♦♦ Deep love and thanks to my family, friends and fellow musicians for all your support over the last few years. Special thanks to Max Jones who gave me the confidence to make this record and whose dedication to living life beautifully is a constant inspiration.
♦♦♦ This album is dedicated to Alice Bayer, mit Liebe, and to Richard Church, out there somewhere, guitar in hand, showing us how its done.
Here’s to what we’ll become. — Jamie Doe, Autumn 2014
Dave Clarke, Thursday, 18 December 2014; Score: 7
♦♦♦ Memorable singing and remarkable finger style guitar playing
♦♦♦ The Magic Lantern used to be a five piece in 2011 and produced the well–received “A World in a Grain of Sand." Jamie Doe, one member of the group, has adopted the name and branched out on his own. He moved to this country from Australia when he was 13, and with university behind him, he is involved in the vicissitudes of his middle and later twenties. The title of the album, recorded in Oxford, is taken from “The Gardens of Persephone” by Swinburne: “From love of too much living / From hope and fear set free / We thank with brief thanks giving / Whatever gods may be/ That...even the weariest river / Winds somewhere safe to sea.” The haunting songs describe Doe’s bumpy journey of growing up and becoming a man. He interestingly dedicates his thoughts to (amongst others) Richard Church enriching the mind through humility and joy.
♦♦♦ But not only do the words work, Doe’s verve, vigour and variety of guitar playing is high ranking. It’s all there in the first song “Harvest Moon”, all the desire, confusion and settlement: “We circle round each other / Like atoms spinning through space. / We all need to be looked after / But in crowds I feel lonelier than ever.”/ And the realisation: “It’s from the death of innocence/ That true love can be born./ And if not now then someday soon,/Beneath a harvest moon, We’ll lie and love again like old lovers do.” Very affective! What is a collection of personal and private thoughts and songs and feelings will move audiences. Listen to the humanity and sensitivity of the phraseology in these lyrics: “We’re all a stitch,/ Cut from the same thread. /And the thread weaves back through time, /An umbilical line, /From a fireside 400,000 years ago.” And “But one dawn the tree awoke, /Sun bursting with fresh life, And all shone green and green and green, /Like we all had heard the joke,/ Oh then she had new heart.../Time! Oh time! /She offers scant peace of mind.” You can’t go wrong with what must be an early collection from an important singer songwriter. ♦♦♦ http://www.americana-uk.com/
By THOMAS BLAKE on 23 OCTOBER, 2014
♦♦♦ The Magic Lantern’s first LP, the excellent A World in a Grain of Sand, was released to much acclaim in 2011. Whilst clearly a collaborative body of work — the band were a five–piece back then — it was very much guided by the hand of front–man, singer and guitarist Jamie Doe. Since then the Australian–born Doe has dissolved the band to focus on more personal and altogether more introspective material. The result is Love of Too Much Living, a set of astute, lyrical and sophisticated songs delivered primarily on softly–plucked guitar and melancholy piano.
♦♦♦ Let’s get something straight right away: although the majority of the songs on this record are reflective, acoustic and very self–aware, this is a far cry from the sub–David Gray troubadours you’re likely to hear in Starbucks or on adverts for iPhones. Where many singer–songwriters will attempt to squeeze emotion out of a lyric using a familiar (and clichéd) vocal trick or melodic trope, Doe draws on an extensive range of influences to approach well–worn themes from fresh and exciting angles. Songs like No One’s Fault, for example, appear to take as much from African music as from traditional Anglo–American pop or folk. In a post–Paul Simon world, this tactic in itself could become corny, but Doe never lets that happen, using his unique vocal phrasing to turn the song into something new. When, two thirds of the way through the track, he sings ‘I’ll wash my face and start again,’ we get a glimpse of how Jeff Buckley might have sounded had he lived to grow less abrasive.
♦♦♦ Lyrically, Doe is concerned with presenting simple ideas in intelligent ways. ‘Why can’t we all get along, as simple as that sounds?’ he enquires in the piano–led Air at the Top, discussing life’s Pyrrhic victories before coming to a conclusion full of optimism, while on the a cappella 28 Years Old he documents a transitional phase of his life with unabashed honesty, the openness of the sentiment made all the clearer by the lack of instrumentation. The acoustic instrumental Alice is an arresting counterpoint, showcasing Doe’s talent for appropriating and melding musical styles, in this case folk and classical guitar. The playing on songs like Winter is altogether simpler, giving Doe the opportunity to indulge in those Buckleyesque vocal flights, and on the jumpy, restless Scant Piece of Mind guitar and piano come together for the first time as the song climbs and spirals.
♦♦♦ Love of Too Much Living takes its title from poem by Victorian decadent Algernon Swinburne, who later became a noted critic and pillar of respectability. It is a wise choice for an album whose songs sit astride the fathomless land between maturity and naivety, and whose lyrics describe that land with profound directness. ♦♦♦ http://www.folkradio.co.uk/
Robin Denselow, Thursday 2 October 2014 19.00 BST; Score: ***
|The Magic Lantern — Love of Too Much Living|