|Matt Berry — Kill The Wolf (2013)|
Matt Berry — Kill The Wolf
◊ Faintly ridiculous rather than outright hilarious
Birth name: Matthew Charles "Matt" Berry
Born: May 2, 1974, Bromham, Bedfordshire, England
Occupation: Actor, writer, comedian, musician
Location: London, UK
Album release: July 16, 2013
Record Label: Acid Jazz / AJXCD327
01. Gather Up 2:20
02. Devil Inside Me 3:05
03. Fallen Angel 3:06
04. Medicine 3:04
05. Wolf Quartet 1:00
06. Solstice 9:27
07. October Sun 5:25
08. The Signs 2:50
09. Knock Knock 4:10
10. Bonfire 4:29
11. Village Dance 3:20
12. Farewell Summer Sun 3:19
◊ My new album ‘Kill The Wolf’, recorded largely from last autumn until early January 2013, has just entered the machine where it will be eventually released late May 2013. ◊ There will be a normal CD release as well as a deluxe box set containing all kinds of treats including; expanded artwork, original limited edition artwork, booklets, gatefold vinyl also, a copy of my earlier effort ‘Opium’ (on vinyl for the first time).
Anyway, enough of the sales Bullshy,
◊ The idea for the new album came from an incident that occurred not that long ago, hang on, I’m jumping ahead, I’ll begin again. The new album is another pastoral folk journey but this time with a slightly more sinister edge. It is about someone (You? Me? …The Devil) entering your village and your life. That idea is not always so literal as when I was writing this I was interested in the Devil in all of us. When I was at University a man who I considered to be an idiot at the time informed me that inside every human being is an Angel and a Devil fighting for our attention with equal force. It is up to us as individuals as to who we allow to win. The reason for me having to endure this speech was due to my horrific time keeping, but more importantly the fact that I must have reeked of alcohol whenever we met. His words at the time seemed trite, almost Sunday school in their simplicity, in fact I remember almost walking away before he had concluded his point (that was my favoured social weapon at the time…. I know) but he looked straight at me, he didn’t blink or say a word, which weirdly made me unable to move (a social weapon I quickly stole from him). Whatever, I imagine I left his office and headed straight towards the bed of a cleaner student or happy hour and thought very little of it. Roll on nearly twenty years…
◊ After a night of considerable intake I, with the lady friend of the time, headed back to my flat so we could continue our dreadful excesses. After a couple of hours into the dawn I remember asking my friend who was sat next to me a question, which, she completely ignored. Staring straight in front she didn’t move. I repeated the question and was greeted with total silence. After what seemed like a yonk, she turned towards me and in a voice that sounded like WW2 veteran and told me that I should “Get out now before the light comes up” I will admit I nearly dropped my stomach. I have never been so terrified in my life. My instinct at the time was to make light of it in a lame attempt to evaporate the atmosphere. It wasn’t two seconds before I turned back, terrified that she would be glaring back at me, or worse, that I saw her lying with eyes shut in what looked like a deep sleep. I awoke her and reminded her of what had just happened seconds before as calmly as I could. She had no memory of any such (one sided) conversation and was in fact fairly adamant that she had been asleep for a while. I conducted the rest of the eve/morning with absolute caution. It was this incident that reminded me of my ex tutors words and thus was part inspiration for the ‘Kill The Wolf’ album.
◊ And no, I did not imagine it.
◊ Matt Berry February 2013
Mat Colegate , June 21st, 2013 09:36
◊ If you were to show someone a greatest hits compilation of Matt Berry's performances in the various comic TV series he has appeared in over the last ten years, and then asked them what kind of album he would make if given the chance, there's a good chance they would nominate prog. His performances are rich in bellowed portentous announcements ("SPEAK, PRIEST!"), eyebrow raised whimsy, and pompous bombast, three characteristics that they share with the best and most enjoyably ridiculous prog rock. Such an assessment would be partly right, too. Kill The Wolf has all of these things, but what it would fail to convey is how daffily enjoyable, beautifully arranged and oddly moving the finished result is.
◊ Verily (expect more of that, by the way), for though Berry acts like a man who upon removing his tabard would have chest hair shaved into the shape of the Greenslade logo, he is also a nimble lute-smith, an arranger of lays most touching and an impassioned balladeer, to boot. And all these skills have come together in a way most pleasing to mine ear (okay, I'll try to stop now).
◊ What we have here is prog-folk of the highest order. A glance back across sylvan glades to a time when groups such as Trees were releasing albums like 'The Garden Of Jane Trelawney' and sharing bills with the likes of Griffin, The Amazing Blondel, Principle Edward's Magic Theatre and Pople Crump (one of those is made up). Raggle-taggle fair folk one and all, keen to the changing of the seasons and the call of the harvest, to the tinkling of the brook and the creaking song of the old oak (Look, I said I'd 'try'. I didn't promise anything).
◊ And what a lovely place it is to escape to. The opening exhortation to "gather up the lemon balm and henbane / mistletoe and mandrake" is sung by a chorus of maidens (no doubt) most fair, and the instrumentation throughout is rich in rustic charm. A sun-dappled Fender Rhodes chimes, flutes streak through the mix like naked nymphs through the glade and Berrys' guitar playing is versatile enough to go from Byrds-ian chime to full raging solos at the drop of a witch's hat. Indeed, Berry played most of the instruments on the album, and acquits himself beautifully. None of the playing feels perfunctory and the arrangements, though often complicated, are thought through and economical, giving the whole album an airy charm that suits the subject matter perfectly. 'Knock Knock' even features a round! And that's not something I've heard since primary school assembly.
◊ However for all this folderol, there are moments where Kill The Wolf trips through a mushroom field and arrives in a darkening glade. Album centrepiece, 'Solstice', evokes the shortening of the days through wheezing harmonium, choral chant and dueling Moogs, before finishing off with a guitar solo that can only be described as 'bitchin'', bringing to mind Amon Duul II jamming with John Barleycorn-era Traffic in a stone circle illuminated by the light from bonfires. And the closing 'Farewell Summer Sun' mourns the season's end with feather-light melancholy - a tired sounding choir, some slide guitar and a tinkling vibraphone picking its way through the song, like a Monday morning festival-goer through crumpled acid casualties.
◊ Berry's voice is as fruity as you'd expect from the man who played Doctor Sanchez in Garth Merenghi's Darkplace ("Monkey bastard hands!"). Sure, you can detect the odd ironically raised eyebrow, but when a fellow is delivering lines such as 'Bonfire's "There'll be smoke/and lots of magic/cider, too/and acrobatics" it's hard to begrudge a wry chuckle. Prog is, after all, pretty hilarious a lot of the time, with it's antiquated concerns and furrow-browed musicianship. So it's a delight to find an album that, while obviously in love with its influences, is confident enough to poke fun at them as well. ◊ For such an album be Kill The Wolf, my lords. And I would beseech thee to listen most carefully. For it be far from a hey-nonny-no. Rather, it is a resounding hey-nonny-yes. (http://thequietus.com/)
Kevin EG Perry; Score: 5/10
Published at 12:01AM, June 21 2013
By ALEX GALLACHER; 20 JUNE 2013
Laurie Tuffrey , June 12th, 2013 05:15
|Matt Berry — Kill The Wolf (2013)|