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Since Arcade Fire burst on to the scene in 2004 there's been an influx of indie bands bolting a couple of cellos and violins on to their songs in a contrived attempt at being 'baroque 'n' roll', but Brighton quintet The Miserable Rich have always favoured a different approach. Instead of the bombast inspired by that particular Canadian collective, they've allowed their songs to be built around chamber pop instrumentation rather than adding string sections to bolster conventional guitar tracks as an afterthought. They also prefer a more authentic, delicate touch, leaving space that creates an organic feel.
For their third album the band relocated to a supposedly haunted house intent on recording an album of ghost stories and the result is 'Miss You In The Days' (released on Halloween, natch). Their modus operandi is ideal for such a concept, their weapons of choice being the bare, natural, acoustic variety and the crooning vocal of James De Malplaquet was seemingly made for a project of this kind. The result does conjure up images of the golden age of ghosts, the late 1800s, and because of its very nature 'Miss You In The Days' almost feels like a period piece, creating the atmosphere of candle-lit, dusty rooms with stag's heads on the walls and moustachioed men in smoking jackets; it's all a bit Sherlock Holmes.
There are some enchanting songs here too. 'Laid Up In Lavender' employs what sounds like a bow-saw to generate a ghostly effect on top of the plodding piano, and mournful strings are used liberally throughout, the sweeping, melancholic 'Ringing The Changes' being a prime example, tinged with both sadness and optimism. Despite the weighty subject matter 'Miss You In The Days' is a surprisingly light album thanks to the subtle production, twinkly, gleaming piano and deftness of touch. The Miserable Rich have achieved their objective in some style - this record is a spellbinding journey from start to finish.
To stream more of the album and for a free download of 'Imperial Lines' head to The Miserable Rich's Facebook
Buy the album.
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