Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
It takes a lot of courage to take the poetry of W.H. Auden, arguably one of Britain’s finest 20th Century poets, and turn it into a Folk song of equal and impressive strength, then for Phil Hare nothing it seems is impossible to play with, to give a slice of extra soul too, and as he enters The Twilight Tone that exists between good natured ambience and angry response, that marriage of emotions is beautifully crafted and well preserved, an almost symbiotic relationship that just keeps giving.
The reflection of a person’s time on Earth is measured by how they respond to certain emotional pulls, the anger that is dispelled in vast quantities, the relative peace of introspection and joy in memory and the bleeding of the two in to each other when viewed from close up. Anger and joy are very strong emotions and sometimes they carry each other off in places that the person never thought possible; perhaps arguably into a darkness that takes time to come back from.
The album is strong on sentiment and for that is must be congratulated, for the slight edge of brutal sarcasm and honest, raw beauty that sits at its heart is made more assure for such conviction and in songs such as Lady London and Funeral Blues (Stop All The Clocks) the act of rememberance is paramount and succinctly sang. To take one of the nation’s favourite poems and give it a new lease of life, to make it beat with an unexpected heart, is to feel beyond the act of grieving mourner but to feel the tinges of life still be stirred and it is welcome and provoking.
With songs such as Friends I Left Behind, The Day Thatcher Passed Away and the excellent sarcasm that hangs its shadow over monetary and personal greed in A Corporate Shanty, Phil Hare brings a smile to the face of the listener and only asks that reflection and thought are passed along, that life must be commented up with respect but also with truth in its heart; whether through loss or anger, joy or experience, the tone should be measured and succinct, Phil Hare offers that completely.
Ian D. Hall