|Anne Marie Hurst — Day Of All Days (2011)|
Anne Marie Hurst — Day Of All Days
Location: Keighley, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Genre: Alternative / Post punk
Album release: November 11, 2011
Label: Freud / Jungle Records, AMH Records
01. Set Me Free [5:05]
02. Lost In Munich [4:22]
03. Hurricane Party [3:25]
04. Dollars Drip Blood [5:10]
05. Take Your Time [3:29]
06. My Destiny [3:44]
07. The Angels [4:45]
08. Have It All [3:42]
09. Your Eyes [4:50]
10. I Have Changed [3:43]
11. Dreamy Days [3:56]
12. Heaven's Mist [3:51]
13. Mixed Feeling [4:17]
Members: Anne Marie Hurst - Vocals, Stan Greenwood - Guitar, Roger Nowell - Bass
Ian Atkinson Drums
Mel Butler Artwork, Photography
Steve Carey Mixing
Rob Caswell Drums
Steve Cradock Piano
Stan Greenwood Guitar
Anne Marie Hurst Primary Artist, Vocals
Ed Kellet Guitar
Roger Trotwood Nowell Bass
Edgar Allan Poe Quotation Author
Charles Rees Engineer, Synthesizer
Owen Llewelyn Richards Guitar
Mya Tinham Vocals (Background)
Howie Weinberg Mastering
Paul Weller Mellotron, Piano
Anne–Marie checking the set–list.
Posted on Wednesday 16th November 2011
It is fitting that an album called Day Of All Days would be released on 11.11.11. The upstairs room at The Cockpit plays host to the launch of Anne Marie Hurst’s debut album. The band have chosen the novel approach of making a video of the entire album to give the gathering something to watch as well as listen to.
»» Firstly it is worth taking a second to give a little background to this release. Anne Marie Hurst, with her trademark red spiky hair, first appeared in the early 1980s with, post–punk rock outfit, The Skeletal Family. The Skellies, as they were affectionately known, also contained current band members Stan Greenwood (guitars) and Trotwood (bass). They released a string of singles and two studio albums, which found critical acclaim from such notables as John Peel.
»» The Skeletal Family developed a reputation for fine live performances and supported some of the larger acts of the day. Most significant of these was The Sisters of Mercy. After both the Skeletal Family and Sisters of Mercy split up, Hurst teamed up with former Sister’s guitarist Gary Marx to form Ghost Dance.
Ghost Dance released a string of successful EPs and eventually an album, Stop The World, on Chrysalis. The Ghost Dance years saw Hurst develop as both a singer and songwriter. The band always had a strong reputation for live performances with classics such as ‘River Of No Return’ and ‘Celebrate’. A more commercial direction driven by Chrysalis did not sit well with the band and when the relationship ended in 1989 they drifted apart.
»» That looked like it was the end of the story…. until 2010 when Hurst reappeared and played a series of gigs featuring a mixture of Skeletal Family and Ghost Dance tracks alongside some of her former Skeletal Family band–mates.
»» The Leeds Guide caught up with three members of the band, Hurst (vocals), Greenwood (guitars) and Trotwood (bass), at their recent Terrorvision support slot, to get the low down on the new release.
»» Hurst explains the absence from the music scene, “I wanted to do it for a long time. I decided that life is too short. I was going through quite a hard time when I bumped into Stan (Greenwood). Stan said, ‘Do you fancy doing something together?’ We decided that that we would do some covers and acoustic songs. We got some songs together, some of which are on the CD. Then we thought, ‘Hang one we were both in the same band’. Stan was still in the Skeletal Family. Trotwood heard we were working together and after a meeting decided to join.”
»» Greenwood talks about how the songs and band came together, “We did a couple of Skeletal Family songs and a couple of Ghost Dance ones and they sounded really good.” Hurst explains that there was always a difference in the Ghost Dance and Skeletal Family sounds, “The songs sounded really good, but we realised that the Ghost Dance songs needed another guitarist as well, and obviously a drummer.” So, Owen Richards (guitar) and Rob Caswell (drums) were recruited to complete the current line–up. “We put a greatest hits set together,” chips in Trotwood who joined us in the dressing room. “We played it all acoustically. Then we decided, ‘Let’s have it, let’s do a gig,’ after all we had done seven weeks of rehearsals.”
»» An appearance at the Gasworks in Bradford ensued and the band’s reputation for live performances has grown and grown since. They have become particular favourites at alternative music festivals playing a mixture of Skeletal Family and Ghost Dance tracks with an increasing number of new tracks. Greenwood talks about the challenge of having so much material for what is effectively a new band, “we had two Skellies albums and a third almost ready when we split up. Ghost Dance had a couple of albums. The new album is coming out and has 13 new songs, but we have about 25–30 in total.” Hurst adds, “We could do an entire set of just the new stuff, but you don’t want to upset your audience too much. We are aiming to do a third Skellies, third Ghost dance and third new stuff.”
»» The band becomes animated when talking about the new material. “We virtually had the album ready since last Christmas. We recorded it down at Paul Weller’s studio. We thought we had really nice songs, but they were just a bit too slow. There just weren’t any up tempo songs. So earlier this year, we wrote about nine songs over four or five weeks,” Hurst adds. “That is how we work best. You learn through working on it. That is how we always used to work. We would just jam and Stan would pick something up and I will sing over it. What we do is record it, and then move it on further. The original nine songs we didn’t do it like that. It had been a long time since we had worked together and you forget what works. We rediscovered what works for us.” Greenwood concludes, “We think we were spoilt for choice, we had 23 songs in the end which we cut down to 13 for the album.”
»» We wrapped up the conversation with a look forward. “The icing on the cake would be a couple of sessions on TV and for the album to take off,” Hurst enthuses. “Once the album comes out it is a bit different,” Greenwood says, “We love the old stuff but we would really like to play more of the new material. It would be great if the album took off, but that is in the hands of reviewers and promoters.”
»» Back at the launch party, the video screen flickers into live and we get our first listen at the new material.
»» ‘Set Me Free’ is the opener on the album. A gentle, atmospheric opening with a light touch of bass and tingling cymbal soon gives way to a riff solid rock riff and the opening scream from Hurst. This mid paced rocker of a tune gives a taster of what is to come. A rockier feel then previous material, as Greenwood and Richards lay down a barrage of guitars. The vocal from Hurst, soars above it all. She has lost none of the vocal strength that characterised her Ghost Dance years. This mid paced rocker of a tune is a fine opener. This triggered thoughts back to the conversation about pace and tempo from the recent interview.
»» No time is lost in dispelling any concerns about the albums pace though. ‘Lost In Munich’ leaves the starting line like an Olympic sprinter and is destined to be a huge live favourite, along with the following ‘Hurricane Party’. Both tracks have pace aplenty and even manage to shift gears within the song sweetly with no crunches.
The pace changes entirely with ‘Dollars Drip Blood’. One of the acoustic songs from the initial sessions, it features Hurst’s vocal draped over meandering acoustic guitar. This is a departure from either Skeletal Family or Ghost Dance material and showcases a different style that is new for this band. A potential fire hazard at future concerts as the lighters will undoubtedly appear.
»» The first four songs showcase the range on this album nicely. Mid-paced rockers, up-tempo romps and pretty ballads all combine to give an album of real depth. The remainder deliver on the promise of the early tracks too. ‘Take Your Time’, ‘My Destiny’, ‘I Have Changed’ and ‘Dreamy Days’ all deliver more musical punches with soaring vocals. ‘The Angels’ features a nicely crafted rock’n’roll riff and bass combination with classic Skeletal Family guitar work and is probably the stand–out track here. There is enough room left for another acoustic ballad with the flamenco feel of ‘Heaven’s Mist’. ‘Mixed Feelings’ neatly wraps up the album with a pace that matched the opening track.
»» The crowd at the launch party clearly enjoyed the first look and listen of the album. Musically, it sees a welcome return for one of the alternative music scene’s first ladies, supported by a great band. It is a must for any alternative music fan and is accessible enough for a more mainstream audience to enjoy. It may be late in the year, but this is a real contender for alternative album of the year. It is also easy to see how these songs would complement a live set already crammed with great tunes.
|Anne Marie Hurst ¦ Day Of All Days (2011)|