THE BUTCHER - PAUL MOSLEY
LCM ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Release Date: 27th May, 2016
Genre: Alternative folk, Singer-songwriter
Location: London, UK
Record Label: Folkwit Records
We make no secret here at LCM that we are big fans of Paul Mosley's music. He is one of the very few people we know who constantly produce excellent sweeping concept albums. His new album 'The Butcher', over two years in the making, is no exception. Part ghost story, part redemption tale, part love story......one epic folk opera!' It combines the talents of 20 great musicians from six different countries over 20 wonderful tracks. Guest singers include Jamie Lawson, Josienne Clarke, Moses, Esther Dee and Sophie Bradley. Paul is also joined on the album by the 13-piece 'Red Meat Orchestra'. Paul is a master songwriter and storyteller excelling in painting brilliant word-pictures and taking you on an amazing theatrical journey through this distant mystical land. It is no surprise that he has had a large cult following since the time in his band Moses. This is the kind of album that you need to put on your headphones, grab a glass of wine (I'm thinking red here?), close your eyes and let the story draw you in and envelope you. It is an album which gets better on every play, just like the 'scientist', if you take the time to dig a little deeper into its rich secrets.
‘The Butcher’ is the story of a good man turned very bad. A lighthouse fails and a love is lost. From the darkness left behind rises the Butcher, a man who has ripped through every scrap of meat a body has to show and never seen a sign of a soul or any goodness. With nothing to lose the bitter Butcher keeps the lighthouse dark and rises to tyrannical and absolute power over the isolated island. Will the work of two scientists, one gazing up to the stars, the other digging down into the earth and into the past unearth more to life than the Butcher’s endless ‘shadows on the wall’. Will they bring light and hope back to the island? With a full supporting cast of living skeletons, dark evil birds, drunken sailors, a Pirate Queen and mysterious transformations, ‘The Butcher’ is a new story but in the body and form of something very old, very dark, mysterious and ancient........
The album begins with 'A Lighthouse', picture the scene a young man at the shoreline beneath a quiet and lonely lighthouse. A pure voice (Josienne as Delores) drifts like a siren calling out over the ocean 'Where is my Love?" He sets sail full of hope to find his true love, but a raging storm sweeps in from the ocean. The lighthouse fails and the man loses his way, quickly becoming despondant that his love is lost. "Did I wrap that darkness around me like a suit of armour? Got so alone, got a heart like a stone. So I got lost on the way to your love"
The pace quickens as 'A Soul To Save' take us to the aftermath of the storm. The lighthouse is out. A figure swims to the shore but in the darkness he struggles to find the shore. Our young man watches from the lighthouse sea-changed and hard-hearted refusing to relight the lighthouse. Everything is lost - no hope, no light and no love..... 'Everybody knows there is nothing beyond the waves. I already brought salvation....There is not a soul to save!"
The dulcet voices and harmonies of Jamie Lawson (The star-gazer) and Esther Dee (The scientist) combine on the beautifully written 'The World Is Flat'. One of our favourite tracks on the album. We find ourselves many years later. The lighthouse remains dark and the island unvisited. Here is the star-gazer, a cold man of science with love in his heart and hot passion running through him. Looking up at the skies thinking that 'there must be more to life than this'. Enter the scientist excavating the island's history. If they could just connect, what secrets might be revealed.......?
The very atmospheric short instrumental 'Introducing' with it's cello whine and almost spanish classical guitar sets the scene for the next chapter. What became of the young man? Why is the Island still Isolated? Who is this rising out of the darkness.....?
Ah now the central character arrives....with full brass, big and loud...'The Butcher'. A man knows the inner workings of everything....every secret. A man who believed in love and paid the price for his foolishness. His world turning to darkness and his heart to shingle. The Butcher runs the island now, keeping it in darkness, unaware that there is life beyond the island. Everybody works for the Butcher.....and there's is only one way.....The Butchers Way! "I see your truth and I hear your lies, down in the blood nowhere to hide"
In 'Shadows On The Wall', we return to the star-gazer and scientist who address the people on the island. They say that things are not as they should be...everything is not ok. The scientist speaks about scraps of paper from the island's history books, evidence of life beyond the island and a lighthouse by a cave. What is its purpose? She will find out. Can she prove there is something better out there waiting to be found? 'What if all these things are just shadows on the wall and the blindling light is obvious to nobody at all, nobody but you."
The star-gazer is left alone as the scientist begins her quest in ernest. In the tender and heartfelt ballad 'She Has A Mystery' he wonders if they have some more in common, perhaps even love? This is a very good track with echo 's of Jamie's 'I Wasn't Expecting That'
Birds now rise in 'Chattering Birds' (another instrumental) and flock at the Butchers factory clustering into a form of a man.....The Butcher. He has heard everything and they must now be stopped. No dissent or revolution from the Islanders! The star-gazer and the scientist working together will uncover more than the Butcher can afford to reveal.
The Butcher transforms himself back into a flock of birds and returns to the star-gazer to sing about the futility and foolishness of love. 'You Don't Need Love' tries to cast major doubts into the star-gazers mind. And it works.......
In 'Satellites' without knowing why the star-gazer decides to turn his back on love and the scientist , a distraction from his search from meaning in the stars. He should travel now to the desert where the stars are far brighter...to find the truth....to find his way.
The scientist finds the lighthouse only to discover it is haunted by the ghosts of a drunken sailor and a pirate queen. Barring her way in 'A Lighthouse part 2' they sing a tale of a young man setting out to find his love, his life, his way. A tale of a dark and stormy night when the lighthouse fell black. The tale of how a young man rose from the wreck as a tyrant, who limped away to rule the island as the Butcher. But also what he left behind his good and his light, his skeletal ghost remaining shining bright to save passing ships. This high energy bluesy song perfect recaps and adds some extra details to the dark story.
The tale of light and love touches the Scientist and in 'My Armour' she starts thinking about the star-gazer and ponders whether this new love will bring her darkness or light in her life. She is opening up and dropping her defenses. "See my armour, see it falling away, see this whole heart reveals"
We are in the desert now with its searing and scorching heat, here we find he badly sun-burnt and crazed star-gazer. He is terrified. As the birds circle above a voice in his head sings the song of a hound dog on his trail but there is 'No Hound Dog On Your Trail'. The birds circling are the transformed Butcher.
In 'Nothing In The Desert' the Butcher finally reveals his true identity. He tells the star-gazer how he set off to find answers but only found darkness. (I keep getting the old Pearl's & Dean's cinema theme in my head on this one for some reason......I can't think why)
Has the Butcher won in 'Darkness'? The scientist is at the lighthouse contemplating the darkness she may have allowed into her heart and soul. The star-gazer is in the desert, alone with no hope, convinced there is nothing left to seek....only defeat. The Butcher is everywhere. Victorious.
The personal 'Galaxies' finds the scientist reflecting on the Butcher's story. Although The Butcher lost his love, his bones kept on shining brightly. She knows in her heart that she loves the star-gazer and starts to climb the lighthouse. Reaching the top she aligns the broken lamp to reflect the light of the stars and the lighthouse is suddenly filled with light. Shining out around the island, the ocean and the desert where the star-gazer lies lost and broken. 'Tricked by the devil with a butcher's knife'. She takes to the air and flies to him through the galaxies...he is saved. Because there is more to life and of course light...this is the universe and we are not alone.
'Light' is now shining everywhere. Here are the voices calling 'Can you see me?"
The new light reveals The Butcher for what he is, just a corpse of meat. Defiant the Butcher sings of his rage in 'The Rage' and tries to transform again. "It's just the rage that is keeping me alive". This time the birds have flown and all that remains is a squealing, frightened pig. The Bones pick up the pig and carry him home. The Butcher cries fade slowly into nothing.
'In Wolves' we go back in time, a young man at the shoreline beneath the lighthouse. A voice crying out across the ocean to his love. But here is Dolores, the Butcher's lost love. Her voice on the wind, her true fate forever a mystery. Because a young man chose the darkness over light. He chose not to love. Another one of our favourites, a beautiful combination of Josienne's vocals and Tom Moth's harp weaving around the melody...joined later by a sublime string arrangement.....wonderful.
The final track 'The Fury' returns to the lighthouse before the storm. Two figures stand on distant facing shores singing of their love they know is out there but they are yet to find. Rain begins to fall the kind of rain you get before a storm........