The Band Of Holy Joy
Funambulist We Love You
“Bring back those days” harks the refrain throughout ‘A Revivalist Impulse’, the opening track from The Band of Holy Joy’s latest long player Funambulist We Love You.
BoHJ have been ploughing their own unique furrow of alternative music for well over three decades now and there is still no need for them to succumb to the revivalist impulse about which they sing. For sure the band has changed, evolved over time, with singer and lyricist Johny Brown the one constant in a co-operative that has seen as many ups and downs as a trainee tightrope walker. However, this does not mean that the band’s best days are behind them; far from it.
Funambulist is a joyous record, as close to pop as BoHJ will possibly ever get, with the lyrical qualities and thematic support for the unlikely prevalent in the earliest recordings of the band still very much to the forefront. Here is a joyous collection of songs that finds Johny and his colleagues timelessly contemporary. The scratchy, patchy instrumentation of yore has been supplanted by a tighter, more conventional approach but the atmospheres remain the same.
There may be only eight tracks on the long-player, but the record is very much an ‘album’ as opposed to a collection of eight songs which in itself is something of a rarity these days. Lyrically Johny remains on top form, with subtle twists and turns when least expected (“You’re going to walk away from me” he sings on The Song Of Casual Indifference; “What can I do to make you stay/Away?”), whilst melodically the eponymous album closer is as beautiful as the band have ever written.
Perhaps Johny is writing about his vision of BoHJ in To Leave Or Remain when he sings “Nothing in this entire universe ever perishes/This thing may pass into that and that into this/Yet the sum of things remains unchanged”? There are certainly some metaphorical truths to be found in the album, and as The Band of Holy Joy stand high above the rooftops here, I too hope they don’t fall.
You can purchase “Funambulist We Love You” or check out BoHJ via the following links
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at http://brokendownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-broken-heed