By: Chris Long
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Classifying music in a post-postmodern world has become increasingly difficult. Where once there were simple genres, now there are endless possibilities. No longer will tagging something rock or pop or dance suffice. Instead, as artists slip between influences and desires, a discerning listener has to endlessly subsection into ever more bisected categories suc as electroacoustic, alt-country, anti-folk, horror punk and deathcore.
Perhaps then, it’s time to strip things back and start again with a new system. Maybe one based on emotional responses or something even simpler – a two-way split between important and not-so-important music. That is to say, a split between those who make music for the here and now, for the rush and the fun, and those who look to bigger things, who strive to make music for the ages, that speaks of the human condition and hooks into something deep within the hearts of an audience.
The latter is where MONEY strive to be. The Manchester band, aware of the weight of expectation that that simple moniker brings, have spent four years confounding and creating, ploughing their own furrow and shoegazing to their own tune with almost universal critical, if not financial success.
That is not to say that their music stands alone. One listen to Suicide Songs, the quartet’s second album, and you can discern their lineage. In the mix lie echoes of the Bunnymen, the lifeblood of Spiritualized, the strength of The Verve, but they are flavours and accents, notes in the background that say “we know where we came from and we will be there ourselves soon”.
Indeed, Suicide Songs is a remarkably accomplished work, a tumultuous and grandiose epic that combines soundscaping post-rock and anthemic indie over and over again to great effect. From the opening swirling, building, begging thrill of ‘I Am The Lord’, through the stadium-ready sways of ‘I’m Not Here’ and ‘Hopeless World’ and the idiosyncratic arthouse epics of ‘You Look Like A Sad Painting On Both Side Of The Sky’ and ‘I’ll Be The Night’, to the closing 3am lock-in remorse of ‘Cocaine, Christmas And An Alcoholic’s New Year’, it is a confident, conspiratorial and coercive album, topped splendidly by frontman Jamie Lee’s see-sawing falsetto to gravel voice.
Lyrics and music combine brilliantly to push the songs into the realms of greatness. As its name suggests, it does have a bleakness, but that is tempered by smart observations. The rolling sea of ‘Night Came’ is pinned with gems like the titular darkness arriving “very fast as if it had fallen over drunk”, while ‘I’ll Be The Night’s’ anti-religion rant contains the acknowledgement that a “fruitless search for saviours will leave nothing inside”. All very intense, certainly, but also beguilingly beautiful in its brutal honesty.
Suicide Songs is an album that aims high and wide, that hopes to capture the battle between dark and light that can linger in every life and speak to the soul as much as the ear. And while it inevitably falls a lot short of such a target, straying ever so occasionally into the realm of self-aggrandising, it certainly delivers more in nine songs than some acts do in an entire career. Unquestionably, this is one to file under important.