Slow Attack - Brett Anderson
Frankly speaking, I didn't like this album from my initial listening. Or maybe I was just confused. I could not figure out my feeling. This is not the usual Brett Anderson I know, a complete department from the old way. After a few listen, it grows on me. This is a winter album, maybe for these few days my hometown is chilly and grey, so I started to understand and go inside it.
I may be one of those few who really like his debut "Brett Anderson" and his second album "Wilderness", because I like Brett to be the withered diva sitting in his dark room in London, drowned in his urban alienation, mourned for his loneliness (what a cruel fan). In Slow Attack, Brett still has a whiff of melancholy, but also with a sense of contentment. Hymn almost foretells an optimistic start of the album, "the climbing sun, the fading dawn, like a hymn to London, commencing with the day", it's a new morning. Brett's voice was perfect there and it made me think of his heyday (hell day) in The 2 of Us. The optimism may be due to his new-found stability, as it implies in his credit note "For my wife". Stability does not mean boring. Wheatfield paints a vivid picture of intimacy between lovers, raging and holy, and we know Brett was hunted then. And hey, why was there no printed lyrics? Brett's lyrics in Slow Attack are so picturesque, vivid images among the lines,(with my difficulty in deciphering and then misinterpretation). "And the snow in February falls, painting winter hollow. And the fields they are empty sites and the hills are like sorrow." What a winter photograph. Gone is the optimism from the beginning, but the tone is not as bleak as the first two albums. Brett seems to accept what life has offered him, it's a muddle, but it’s meant to be, "and we were born muddled, but it was meant to be... and your sun will rise again, and your moon will fall... through the endless rage, on the frozen roads." Or there's no need for such heaviness. It makes no difference if we really try hard or just lay idle for the rest of our lives, we still will be blown away someday. Maybe we should just learn the laid-back manner of Brett in Ashes of Us "the orchid grows, in a sunny place, where I sip my tea, with a scarecrow's grace." The songs I love most in this winter album are those mentioning summer (but I don't like summer at all). Layers of strings in Summer depict a scene of snow-falling, it's like under a snow-falling sky with the northern lights, it's so cold outside but you are feeling summer inside, definitely it is a song of a loved person, it even warms the heart of an unloved person like me. The last song, Leave Me Sleeping, a song for the oblivious, cruel and blizzard the world may be, we may still close our eyes and back to the embrace of summer or, of our mother.
This is a warm album, though with series of idyllic pictures in cold winter.
(oh I found the name of Kate St John in the sleeve. yes, from the first album I already thought that Brett in solo is so much like the sound of Kate St. John, what a co-incidence!)