Music Review//Jon Byrne - Built By Angels

When music hits you in the face you tend to notice. But the fact that the music on Built By Angels crept up on me, harmonica and story book in hand, in a manner so quiet we didn't anticipate it coming we were impressed.

The acoustic, storyteller like vibes of Built By Angels are often deceptively folky in their inception but beneath the surface there's a lyrically cynical, often rocky texture that adds to the flavours at play on the album. Jon Byrne, the man behind the music, was spotted by The Clash's Mick Jones busking on Portabello Road and soon found himself in the right company. This second album is indicative of that with a rich production giving an Americana like warmth to the music and an added reason to keep hitting the repeat function on your device.

The album begins somewhat cosily with the life long love themed Lighthouse with  a chorus declaring to a special someone that he will love them for the rest of his life. But come the melodic, folk like Forever Chasing That Feeling and it's a pervasive sense of celebration coming through. How long this lasts though is not difficut to guess - as soon as you hear the dark humored The Bitch + Her Greed you know there's dark period coming along. The lyrics get ever more hilarious (depending how cynical you are) with lines such as "cocaine, vodka and coffee are the usual start to my day" creeping in on Hollywood Calling and it's this part of the album that entertains the most. 

If this album was a city, it'd be an old, dirty one with much beauty behind the faded main streets. This is truly music to enjoy over a bitter coffee and cigar in the dark corner of a bar in the oldest part of town but at the same time it's refreshing, original and ultimately compelling. 

Reviewed by Sebastian Gahan. 

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