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British indie rock band Money has released their sophomore album, Suicide Songs. As the name suggests, the album offers up a gallery of melancholy. But, also depth. The band got their start playing what would be their signature sound in the underground scene of Manchester. Their haunting style sounds like the music lovechild of Radiohead and Arcade Fire. Their very first single, “So Long (God is Dead)” is what caught the ear of Simon Raymonde, musician and founder of the independent record label, Bella Union. The label released their debut album, The Shadow of Heaven in 2013. The success of the album saw the band touring throughout the UK, Europe, and later the US. Now, Suicide Songs serves as a continuation from their first album, concentrating on some of the darker elements that defines their sound.
It’s easy for your conceptions to be dictated by the title. As a whole, the album sounds like a soundtrack to a heroin overdose. The album is comprised of track titles like “Hopeless World,” “I’m Not Here,” and “I’ll Be the Night.” The (sort of) title track, “Suicide Song” sounds like it was written by someone with razor in hand, but it’s not that easy. Give this album a proper listen (as with any album: headphones and no distractions) and it is clear that Money is able to wade in waters too murky for most. To answer a blunt question: is the album any good?
Of course, that’s a loaded question, but yes. The album is indeed a companion to the depressed. Those who aren’t grappling with hard times might find the album a downer, but for those going through difficult times, this album can resonate. If depression and suicide are the themes, the feel of the album isn’t completely gloomy. It seems to explore the different manic states you experience when going through incredibly tough times. The eight-and-a-half minute song, “Night Came” has peaks and valleys of emotion that may prompt you to laugh, cry or laugh and cry at the same time. Crashing symbols fading to delicate piano guide you through a storm. It’s not the brightest song, but probably the lightest on the album.
It gets real dark at times. “Suicide Songs” chorus simply chants, ‘This is your suicide song.” Soft trumpet and guitar in the background, the song almost gives you permission to end it all. Yikes. Thankfully, it’s only two minutes long. If I had to guess, “A Cocaine Christmas and an Alcoholic’s New Year” was written after Jamie Lee ruined a family party by getting drunk and saying something that prompted everyone to leave. Maybe he heard a nephew ask their parent ‘if Uncle Jamie was going to be okay.’
The beauty in the album is the untainted art of it all. What we are listening to is real. While comparisons can be made, we are hearing something original. Often, the more critical acclaim a band receives as they progress, the more a formula becomes apparent. Not a signature – a formula. ‘This is what works so let’s stick with it.’ This doesn’t seem to be the case with Money. The music has a clear connection with the writer. Whether with razor in hand or after ruining Christmas, it was written with purpose. Thoughtful lyrics backed by talented musicians.
As a typically high spirited individual, I don’t think I’m necessarily the target audience for Suicide Songs. That being said, the undeniable talent behind the album had me listen to it several times over. Put aside whatever preconceived notions you may have, give the album a proper listen, and consider where Money will be a couple years from now. And then maybe send someone to check on Jamie Lee.
What did YOU think of the album? Tell us in the comments below!