To inspire more than a passing bout of excitement the release of a new album from Ed Hale And The Transcendence in the impressive shape of All Your Heroes Become Villains is the perfect tool. The follow up to 2005 Nothing Is Cohesive , their new album is a stunning collection of themed songs that are as creatively varied as they are distinctly satisfying.
Ed Hale is no stranger to giving quality with his previous link up over two albums with the critically acclaimed Brit-pop/indie-rock collective Transcendence plus an album of rare and unreleased tracks, and his solo work with his current album Ballad On Third Avenue riding high in charts and within eager ears. Hale is no wallflower either when it comes to world and personal issues, and musically his lyrics as ever strongly consciousness raising, unafraid and passionate.
All Your Heroes Become Villains released via Dying Van Gogh Records sees the band returning with their unique and creative guns blazing. The album is diverse and imaginative with an eclectic blend of energy, power and elegance. The line-up of Hale who as well as being the vocalist brings guitars and keys to the mix, bassist Roger Houdaille, drummer Ricardo Mazzi, pianist and on keys Allan Gabay, and Fernando Perdomo with guitars, electric sitar, mellotron and more, have combined to work tirelessly over a long period on this release to create something that draws on a wide and bold array of sounds and the brought in additional music and abilities of a diverse range of musicians, their skills infused into the distinctive and recognisable band sound.
The concept within All Your Heroes Become Villains is of one man and his personal story, the pain, hopefulness and faith within him, and its dissipation through the tracks until his end in the penultimate track. As the music, this theme and lyrical representation is powerful and expands wider with political commentary of a screwed up world alongside the personal aspect. The album title itself the starting point with its obvious and truthful statement of even those we admire and believe in at some point proving to be infallible and ‘wicked’.
The title track opens the album with a lively and soulful stroll complete with vibrant keys, emotive brass and gospel like soaring vocals. The song seamlessly slips into recent single ‘Blind Eye’, deeply personal and political at the same time, the world and its state imploding on personal feelings. The song is bitter and forthright and a stunning rock track even if dangerously close to ‘I’m Not Trading’ by Sunna at times. Again the use of brass is impressive with the song pulsating on many levels and with multiple faces.
Though the songs all stand alone with confidence the album works even better as a whole with each track moving into the next without pause or deliberation. This makes the theme work even better, one piece of eleven distinct but seamlessly fitting movements. Each track is impressive in their varied ways with the likes of the melodic brit pop ‘Solaris’, the boldly rampant ‘Waiting For Godot’ with Hale at his finest emotive best, and the almost anthemic rock thrust of ‘‘We Are Columbine (The Unforgiven)‘ riling up the senses with sound, intent and content.
Best track on the album is ‘Messed It Up Again’, a rhythmically taunting track that gives glimpses of the pop punk of Buzzcocks with a melodic keyboard pulse of maybe a Radiohead, though this is a far superior prospect. It epitomises the whole release, wonderfully alive with twists and turns to intrigue, engage and fuel constant attention.
All Your Heroes Become Villains is a complete joy unveiling more delights and charm over repeated plays and focus. It may have been a few years since Ed Hale And The Transcendence blessed with new material but they have more than made up for it with this album