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Bailey; Glyn, & The Beholden: 2059

It's Glyn Bailey, Jim, but not as we not him.... the year is 2059 and these are the voyages of The Beholden; Captain Bailey gleefully manning the helm. Having seemingly marooned his Many Splendid Things on some lonely planet inhabited by green ladies with a hankering for hunks in yellow jerkins (never red jerkins, we all know what happens to them…) 2059 is delivered by the five-piece of Bailey on vocals, Lizz Beahan (violin/vocals), Jamie Singleton (piano/keyboards), Phil Senior (guitar) and John Gardner (bass). You'll note that while Owen Wright does add drums to three of the ten tracks here, the other five musicians don't exactly make for an average Rock combo. In fact ditching the Progressive Pop for what guitarist Senior describes as "Chamber Pop", Bailey and his merry men (and woman) have taken a serious left turn here, while still somehow linking the whole thing to the sound of before. A vocal style from Bailey which still lands somewhere between Bowie and Colin Vearcombe (Black) ensures that the jaunt of old remains, while the gently quirky nature that made much of the Splendid Things work so irresistible, still sits neatly underneath some tremendously constructed songs.

Initially the transformation takes a little while to absorb, however once the engaging swirl of "78RPM" or melancholic lilt of "2059" begin to sink in, so their beauty and charm become ever more apparent. Singleton's piano and Beahan's violin are at the forefront, leaving a stripped back feel that hadn't been expected and in truth likening the ten tracks here to much else out there right now is a decided challenge. Oddly the overtly observational story telling style of the lyrics brings to mind traditional songs where the message is as important as the arrangements they sit in. However here, the melodies are so stick in the head catchy it's frightening. It's as close to cultural songs of our time, like those our ancestors told round a fire to keep their communities alive, as any style is offering these days. Tales of wedding days, rescued 78rpm records, the insignificance of man in the universe and the decades of stories the local dance-floor could spill if it could talk, are all regaled in straight forward, everyday language which captivates through its poetic simplicity; linking neatly to songs played as waltzes, eerie violin led atmospheres, celebratory marches, or multi-vocal forays. It may sound an odd collection, and thankfully it is, as that's the beauty right there. 2059 doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't and yet it is so many more things than your average album, refusing bluntly to conform to genre or stereotype in any shape or form. That a cover of the Slade classic (with a few guest lines from other 70s hits) "Coz I Luv U", played on single guitar and voice, before blossoming into a stomp your feet violin led folk song, fits perfectly, slap bang in the middle of this album says much for its chaotic cohesiveness. And that things can end on a dreamy "theme tune", "Universe", where angelic voices and the sounds of blazing engines keenly mix with spiky saxophone and a variety of hand percussion, tells you this album never stops being daring, even at its most relaxed.

Special mention also for the album art, where an all seeing "eye of the universe" on the cover, neatly morphs into a similar, but different slab of vinyl with either an iris, or big bang universe creating explosion on the CD itself. And it's that attention to detail which sums up perfectly the care which has been given to every aspect of this album.

2059 may be a leap into an uncertain future, but one thing's for sure, we'll be utterly beholden by its soundtrack...

Track Listing
1. 78RPM
2. Showtune
3. Chains
4. The Wedding Song
5. A Night Of Memories
6. Coz I Luv U
7. The Dancefloor
8. 2059
9. Stars
10. Universe

Added: April 4th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Glyn Bailey online
Hits: 1712
Language: english

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