|The Lilac Time|
|No Sad Songs|
The Lilac Time — No Sad Songs ♣ Stephen Anthony James Duffy (born 30 May 1960, Alum Rock, Birmingham, England) is an English singer/songwriter, and multi–instrumentalist. He was a founding member and vocalist/bassist of Duran Duran. He went on to record as a solo performer under several different names, and is the singer and songwriter for The Lilac Time with his older brother Nick. He has also co–written with Robbie Williams and Steven Page.
Formed: 1987 in England
Location: Cornwall, England
Album release: April 3rd, 2015
Record Label: Tapete and her partners
01 The First Song of Spring 4:08
02 She Writes a Symphony 3:34
03 The Wedding Song 2:41
04 Babylon Revisited 4:29
05 No Sad Songs 2:55
06 The Dream That Woke Me 3:10
07 Prussian Blue 4:47
08 The Western Greyhound 5:44
09 Rag Tag & Bobtail 4:43
10 A Cat On the Long Wave 3:58
© The Lilac Time.
By Chris White | Posted on 31 Mar 2015 | Score: ***½
♣ Every once in a while, an artist that seemed to have faded quietly into permanent obscurity can summon up a late career renaissance that’s as surprising as it is welcome. It happened last year with Roddy Frame’s excellent Seven Dials album; now it’s the turn of fellow literate 1980s singer–songwriter Stephen Duffy to show that there’s life in the old dog yet.
♣ Like Frame with Aztec Camera, Duffy made his name as the front man for a group that was a solo venture in all but name. A founder member of Duran Duran in his late teens, Duffy soon decided the music he wanted to make lay in a different direction to his Brummie band mates and after a restless few years, he emerged in 1987 with The Lilac Time, whose brand of gentle, wistful folk rock couldn’t have been less fashionable at the height of the MTV decade. It was clearly a sound that suited Duffy just fine however; since then, he’s by and large stuck to the same template, quietly releasing a dozen or so albums either as part of a band or in his own name (occasionally with the moniker ‘Tin Tin’ inserted). But after eight years of silence since 2007’s Runout Groove, one could be forgiven for thinking The Lilac Time’s clock had finally stopped.
♣ No Sad Songs is therefore a return that’s as unexpected as it is quietly triumphant. Duffy has always had a wonderfully relaxed way with a tune coupled with a warm, dreamy atmospheric and both strengths are fully present and correct on this consistently strong record.
♣ The signs were there when the title track emerged as a single at the turn of the year. An elegiac Americana–tinged delight, its mournful pedal steel and Duffy’s rich, tender baritone combined to make this the best Richard Hawley song south of Sheffield. Now 100% a family affair, No Sad Songs was recorded in Cornwall by Stephen, wife Claire and brother Nick. Although the title may suggest a more upbeat vibe, the mood here is still mostly world–weary and nostalgic, although tinged with hope.
♣ The album begins with The First Song of Spring, its epic, stately strings offset by wisps of fluttering banjo as Duffy and his spouse harmonise blissfully on the refrain “have I told you that I love you?” It’s a fine opener, and we don’t have to wait long for another gem; The Wedding Song is a lovely, lilting country–tinged ballad that would fit seamlessly onto a late period Neil Young record like Harvest Moon or Silver and Gold.
♣ The jaunty bossa nova of Babylon Revisited is a slight misstep, but Duffys’ soon back on form with the aforementioned title track and the beautifully languid Prussian Blue. No Sad Songs closes with two contrasting but equally arresting compositions — the pastoral folk instrumental Rag Tag and Bobtail, complete with Vashti Bunyan–style recorders, and A Cat On The Long Wave, a ghostly waltz that fades out into waves of distorted noise.
♣ Throughout, Duffy’s lyrics remain as idiosyncratic as ever, referencing everyone from Mervyn King to Eleanor of Aquitaine, although lines like “diaphanous friendship in transparent splendour” step close to overstepping the pretentiousness boundary. Yet even with his occasional indulgences, No Sad Songs is an impressive comeback. One can only hope that The Lilac Time’s latest bloom is not to be their last. :: http://www.musicomh.com/
♣ After several years together, Duffy married fellow Lilac Time member Claire Worrall in April 2008. The couple now live in Cornwall, England.
♣ Following a brief solo career under both his own name and the moniker Tin Tin, Stephen Duffy put together the Lilac Time, which traded in his former synth pop excursions for pastoral, folky English pop strongly recalling Skylarking–era XTC. Joined by Mickey Harris, Nick Duffy, and Michael Giri, Duffy crafted several eclectic albums making use of traditional instruments, beginning with a self–titled debut in 1988. 1989's Paradise Circus offered a bit of country & western influence, which was largely abandoned on 1990's ...& Love for All, partially produced by XTC's Andy Partridge. the Lilac Time's final album, 1991's Astronauts, began to return to the sound of Duffy's earlier solo career, so it was no surprise when the band broke up and Duffy resumed work as a solo artist. He re–formed the group in 1999 to release Looking for a Day in the Night.
♣ Le mois d’avril 2015 sera donc le mois du retour des héros perdus de la pop anglaise. D’un coté Bill Fay et son deuxième disque en moins de trois ans, de l’autre The Lilac Time, la chimère des frères Duffy et leur premier album depuis 8 ans.
Depuis 1986 ces deux–là distillent une pop matinée de folk d’une rare élégance (comme leur succès). La preuve avec The Paradise Circus paru en 1989 et ses petites confiseries que ne renieraient pas les fans de Belle and Sebastian et consorts.
♣ Désormais hébergés chez les allemands de Tapete Records, Stephen Duffy et ses Lilac Time publieront No Sad Songs le 03 avril 2015. Enregistré dans les Cornouailles, No Sad Songs nous est décrit comme une petite merveille par le site du label. On n’en demandait pas temps et nous voulons volontiers bien croire le teuton…
♣ No Sad Songs (2015) — titled The Lilac Time
♣ Memory & Desire — 30 Years In The Wilderness (2009 — titled Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time)
♣ Runout Groove (2007 — titled Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time)
& Love for All (2006) — UK Mercury Reissue with extra tracks & Radio Sessions
♣ Paradise Circus (2006) — UK Mercury Reissue with extra tracks & instrumentals
♣ The Lilac Time (2006) — UK Mercury Reissue of 1988 UK CD with extra tracks & Radio Sessions
♣ Astronauts + (2005) UK Edition of 1998 Japanese 19 track version
♣ Keep Going (2003 — titled "Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time")
♣ lilac6 (2001) — Japanese 2–CD set with 4 live tracks
♣ lilac6 (2001)
♣ Compendium — The Fontana Trinity (2001) — 2–CD set of songs from first three albums
♣ Paradise Circus (1999) — Japanese reissue of 1989 CD
♣ The Lilac Time (1999) — Japanese reissue of 1988 UK CD
♣ Looking for a Day in the Night (1999) — Japanese release with 1 extra track
♣ Looking for a Day in the Night (1999)
♣ Astronauts (1998) — Japanese release, with seven extra tracks
♣ Astronauts (1991) — German Creation release
♣ Astronauts (1991)
♣ & Love for All (1990) — Japanese release with obi strip
♣ & Love for All (1990) (also released in Germany and US)
♣ Paradise Circus (1989) (also released in Germany and US)
♣ The Lilac Time (1988 — Mercury Records US release with different track listing & extras)
♣ The Lilac Time (1988 — Fontana Records reissue)
♣ The Lilac Time (1987 — Swordfish Records limited release)
Nick Duffy: http://www.decorfilms.co.uk/
|The Lilac Time|
|No Sad Songs|