Miracle Mile: In Cassidy's Care (MeMe Records)
It has been quite a few years since we've had an album from the previously productive Miracle Mile, a band once acclaimed as one of Britain's best kept secrets.
In the past five years or so founder member Trevor Jones appeared to be out on his own (Hopeland of 2009, Keepers in 2010, both under the name Jones) yet, curiously, they sounded very much like MM projects, especially since his longtime collaborator/co-producer Marcus Cliffe was still on hand.
Jones and Cliffe make a formidable pair when it comes to crafting beautifully adult, thoughtful and melodic music where Jones' poetic lyrics are placed within gently memorable tunes and lovingly crafted arrangments.
This new album by Miracle Mile (they're back!) extends Jones' literary ambitions. It comes as a parallel project/companion to a book of the same name, both of which explore and follow the emotions of a friend of Jones' who whose "life was as disheveled as his appearance, he was coming apart at the seams".
This person -- "let's call him Cassidy" -- is central to songs where we follow the further unraveling through growing separation from a wife and the heartbreak it brings ("does anybody listen past 40? When the spaces between us are vast, I keep whispering into the silence") the continuing breakdown ("small dramas indeed, they all pile up for sure" ) and those spaces between just getting wider ("home's a different country now").
While this may sound irredeemably bleak, be assured it is not. The music is warm and sympathetic, the brief spoken word poems/passages link the wide-open narrative and there are flashes of light and wisdom scattered throughout. You feel for Cassidy who is a dreamer and an optimist from childhood: "I'll sing anything but the blues, I won't go stumbling into a future of cancer and comfortable shoes."
To say more would be telling too much. But there's a line in the book version which might be a useful reference.
It comes from a frustrated Amelia, Cassidy's wife and mother of their two boys: "Christ Pete, this isn't art, this life".
In Miracle Mile's comforting and assured hands, In Cassidy's Care is both.
By Graham Reid, posted Jun 24, 2013