Seriously beguiling and theatrically suggestive, Jacob’s Ladder is the highly anticipated debut album from Scottish trio The Filthy Tongues, and a glorious adventure into the dark and magnetic underbelly of the band’s home and imagination. Consisting of eight slices of dark rock ‘n’ roll woven from an evocative tapestry of caliginous flavours and textures, tracks further infused with poetic lyrical drama, the album is an immersion into gothic cloaked and intimately alluring portraits of, in the words of the band, “a dark neo-feudal Edinburgh.”
The Filthy Tongues consists of vocalist/guitarist Martin Metcalfe, bassist Fin Wilson, and drummer Derek Kelly, a threesome who were the core-members of eighties/nineties band Goodbye Mr Mackenzie. The band, which also featured Shirley Manson as keyboardist and backing singer, evolved into Angelfish and recorded a well-received album with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads, whose manager Gary Kurfirst gave a helping hand to the Scottish band. Subsequently Manson was lured to front a new project called Garbage whilst Metcalfe, Wilson, and Kelly became Isa & the Filthy Tongues and released a pair of albums with American-born Stacey Chavis as vocalist. Now the trio have stepped forward as The Filthy Tongues and uncaged a creative incitement which must rank up there with the finest offering to come from their creative minds and talent.
The album opens with its title track and a melancholic caress of strings which soon part for a vibrant stroll of dark bass and nagging riffs around distinctive vocals. A ripple of keys adds to the instant expressive character of the track, backing vocal lures just as potent as the track strolls along with a sinister yet mesmeric swagger. Like a mix of The Monochrome Set and Milton Star with a healthy scent of Nick Cave to it, the opener alone gives Jacob’s Ladder all the bait needed to tempt ears and appetite, whilst setting up an already eager imagination with the lust to delve into what is to come and enslave.
The brilliant start continues with the rhythmically tenacious High. As the bass aligns it’s ominous yet invitingly throaty suggestiveness to the anthemic pull of beats, Metcalfe’s tones bring the narrative to pungent life like a lyrical Pied Piper within the post punk seeded and dramatic ambience of the sounds around him. It is gripping, irresistible stuff that demands increasing attention with consummate ease, much as the album and songs surrounding it, including the following Holy Brothers. Rhythms again create a bold canvas for keys and strings to share their provocative and melodic suggestiveness which in turn creates an aural sketch for vocals and words to captivate within. There is a slight feel of Fatima Mansions to that lyrical and indeed emotional prowess cast, a sharing of the descriptive and virulently compelling art of offering the imagination a fully equipped landscape to play with.
Long Time Dead brings a steely edge and attitude to its guitar crafted opening and subsequent body next, providing a dark country spiced proposal bred in the dirty back streets of life whilst Bowhead Saint swings and seduces with a delta blues kissed romancing of the imagination. Both tracks enthral and tantalise from within their individual creative skins and darkly lit hearts before Violent Sorrow shares its intimate and, as throughout the album, lyrically raw croon. Each of the trio leaves a lingering mark in their varied ways, all offering a long term flirtation with the psyche and passions.
A more physically agitated piece of rock ‘n’ roll, Children Of The Filthy keeps enjoyment and excitement as high as ever. Once more rhythms provide the irritable yet anthemic side of the song, vocals the dark scenic persuasion, and melodic and sonic imagination a bewitching poetic majesty which here is surf rock infused. The track is glorious, with Metcalfe vocally continuing to be like a Vaudevillian Poe sharing a dark tale to embrace and be inspired by. Its success is swiftly matched by the sultry exploration of Kingdom Of Ice, a song as enchanting as it is emotionally intimidating. Carrying a sound brewed with volatility, the closer is a firmly arresting proposal with as much suggestive depth and persuasion as the words it merges with, and a superb end to a similarly impressive release.
Jacob’s Ladder is destined to be one of the most acclaimed debuts of 2016, if it can truly be called a first release or simply another proposal in a long term evolution of three artists. More than that though, the record is a blend of fantasy and reality which ignites ears and emotions like a sonic poet; so being destined to emerge as one of the most acclaimed albums of the year might be the better suggestion.
Jacob’s Ladder is out now via Blokshok and available in varied formats and packages @ http://www.filthytongues.com
Pete RingMaster 15/03/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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