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BAND OF HOLY JOY – ‘Funambulist We Love You’ Review

BAND OF HOLY JOY – Funambulist We Love You

Band of Holy JoySpanning more than three decades, Band of Holy Joy are forever experimenting with new sounds and visions and their latest album, Funambulist We Love You, is probably their most accomplished effort to date.

It’s maybe as close to mainstream as they have ever dared venture but rest assured, there’s still the eccentricity of both music and lyrics to keep the most avid fan hitting the repeat button at the end of the eighth and final track as you just can’t help yourself but to listen again and again.

Starting off with A Revivalist Impulse, the vocals of front man Johny Brown kick in simultaneously with the band and a jaunty tune follows with backing vocals between each line. However, this is still Band of Holy Joy and the bizarre mix of frivolity and melancholy somehow just fits which is testament to brilliant writing skills of Johny and his band of merry men.

To Leave or Remain is a swipe at the state the United Kingdom currently finds itself stuck right in the middle of ridiculous Brexit negotiations – something that never should have been bestowed on the shoulders of the British electorate. Opening with the now familiar wind section of the band, the track evolves into an enchanting mix of political and personal ponderings – “I voted for calm, you petitioned for change, you threw up the question, do we leave or remain?”

Next up is A Lonesome Dove, another easily accessible track with a Nick Cave-esque melancholy central instrumental section which I wanted to go on and on forever – majestical and maybe manic and magical.

The centre piece of the album is the quite brilliant The Song of Casual Indifference. Over seven minutes of pure Band of Holy Joy which allows you to escape into your own world listening to the music accompaniment or just marvel at the lyrics escaping from Brown’s mouth. “You’re going to walk away from me, you’re going to walk away from me, what can I do to make you stay………………….away?” The song eventually spirals down the T*ump avenue suggesting a changing political landscape as well as personal loss. Truly brilliant.

“The shadow of the habit remains, my best friend blew out her brains” opens The Song of Passionate Intensity, which reverts to somewhat classic Band of Holy Joy, with the more downbeat and somber overtones reminding me more of How to Kill a Butterfly period of the bands existence.

Penultimate track A Beautiful Cat takes us back up to a more upbeat surrounding with singalong chorus and more in keeping with recent releases from the group before the album is rounded off with title track Funambulist We Love You. A look at how fragile life is and how we live on the edge, or indeed, on the tightrope, “She is high above the crowd looking down on them all, who have gathered in their thousands crying I hope you don’t fall.”

A unique and brilliant album by a unique and brilliant band. Get yourself a copy of Funambulist We Love You by Band of Holy Joy at all the usual places as well as through  their Bandcamp page: https://bandofholyjoy.bandcamp.com/album/funambulist-we-love-you