Viral Discs & Downloads 2014
The words of wisdom ringing through the years into here and now in the advent that was worth the wait.
His name hidden in the credits of many a prominent album, and his guitar high in the mix, it was with PAUL BRETT’S SAGE, that one of the best British guitarists stepped into the spotlight. But it was a short run, the ensemble ceasing to exist in 1972 – only to come back to life 42 years later, even though their leader has stayed in a music realm all the while. The possession apostrophe shed this time, harking back to the band’s debut, the old magic’s not been gone with it, yet don’t be misguided by the sharp riffage in “Nothing Really Changes” as there’s no wide-eyed wonder of “3D Mona Lisa,” SAGE’s only claim to fame. Instead, “Emergence” picks up where “Trophies Of War” from that first record left off and, casting erstwhile lysergic hues away, even in the nostalgic, “Tommy”-echoing, pavane of “Psychedelic Pauline,” offers acidulous social commentary wrapped in the sweetest of melodies.
The Eastern chant of “Blood Oil” crawling over the desert path to deliver its message home, and the heavy folk of “Fracking” might be the most biting attacks on the state of this world, yet rather angry opener “Amsterdam” is shot through with a six-string lace and warm sympathy to the dubious virtues of this life, not unlike a certain Jacques Brel song. It’s the other side of cultural exchange, after all, but while the innocence’s lost here, almost tragically so in the exquisite “The Tempest,” and while “666” rings the hellish, if humorous, blues, hope lives on in the baroque lament of “The Green Man’s Tears” and, strange as it is, in the murky ballad which is “Evening Star” set to Edgar Allen Poe‘s poem. The great American also inspired “The Pit & The Pendulum” whose theatrical delicacy comes somehow offset by the awkward rocking of “Degi,” whereas “There’s A Wolf At Your Door” hides its creepy warning over under a disco sheen that begs for an orchestral sweep.
There’s no eclecticism, though, on “Emergence” which is a second coming on all fronts. A wise step and a creative success in marrying old and new.