Miracle Mile - In Cassidy’s Care (MeMe)
It’s been six years since Limbo, the duo’s last collection of new material, during which time singer and lyricist Trevor Jones has released two solo albums and written an online short story. The latter provides the impetus (and the title) for his reunion with musical partner Marcus Cliffe on their ninth album.
Like its predecessor, it’s a break-up album, but this time presented in conceptual form, non-judgementally charting the path and fall-out of the disintegrating relationship (like Plasticine on his own Keepers, it was inspired by a friend’s - possibly the same - situation), the lyric booklet featuring scene-setting extracts from the novel, which you can download to Kindle.
It opens with Park Bench, the central character returning to the scene of that first meeting and reflecting on ‘an ordinary life filled with ordinary days’ and a dream that somehow fell apart. It’s one of two tracks to feature spoken narrative (something that figured heavily on the solo albums), here recording Cassidy’s inability to put things into words while on Beach Songs,’ the tumblingly lovely childhood reflections finale, it provides the epiphany.
In between, the songs document the gradual unravelling of the marriage (the wife’s named Amelia, but the perspective is firmly the husband’s) and the confused emotions and hurt that attend the break-up and the aftermath. There’s the way small dramas build to major crisis (Big Circus), the divorce (I Love You, Goodbye), child custody (In Cassidy’s Care, Tall Tales And True), and learning to live alone still haunted by familiarity of the past (Apartment), Then, with the instrumental Jog marking the turning point, comes discovering the possibility of being able to move on and rediscover yourself (Any Human Heart), never forgetting what has been, but not being trapped by it (Carpet Dreaming) as he says, "I'll sing anything but the blues, I won't go stumbling into a future of cancer and comfortable shoes."
However, a decade-later epilogue, Primrose Hill, brings the album and the journey full circle (a ‘concertina from "hello" to "goodbye"’) back to the park bench ‘where we met, where it all went wrong’, closing on a downbeat admission that while time passes and new lives emerge, some wounds may close, but never heal.
With their minor chords and lilting sways, multi-instrumentalist Cliffe’s dreamy melodies may not vary greatly from song to song, but that also ensures a unity of wistful reflective mood while, still at times reminiscent of Martyn Joseph, Jones’ warm, soothing vocals are rather like being gently massaged by feathers.
An album for those of a certain generation, a certain age and, perhaps, a certain sex, but anyone with copies of Tony Parson’s novels on the bookshelf really should seek it out.
Mike Davies July 2013