A ghost story collection that grows goose-bumps in the night.
Mark Beaumont 2011
On the first, blessed Halloween in living memory that we haven’t been subjected to a new Saw flick more grisly than a Gaddafi corpse shot, let’s hope The Miserable Rich are here instigating a far more sublime new franchise. Their third album Miss You in the Days is the Brighton chamber pop outfit’s ghost story collection – its sleeve a gathering of amorphous spectres in snow that’ll no doubt be trotted out one day as ‘proof of paranormal activity’ on Most Haunted; its sounds the fragile broodings of piano, viola and violin echoing – literally – around a haunted pub attic in the grounds of Blickling Hall where the album was recorded within earshot of the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn. Its themes: the inhuman and incorporeal – poltergeists, possessions, apparitions and other such banes of the weak-minded and gullible – rendered in wonderfully human fashion. Like Beirut hosting a Wuthering Heights theme Halloween party, it’s a record that grows goose-bumps in the night.
Tied up in loss, longing and lust, the spookiness of Miss You in the Days is in the delivery rather than all-out horror songs, the lyrical equivalent of passing peeled grapes around the campfire saying "these are the old lady’s EYES…" Under Glass evokes the image of a she-phantom trapped beneath glass in order to charmingly regale her with the respect she never knew in life. The ghoulish night-walkers of True Love expound the frustrations that, y‘know, ectoplasmic orbs have feelings too. Laid Up in Lavender envisions a fiend-infested beirkeller cabaret and the wonderfully rousing Ringing the Changes is a masked ball in Peter Jackson’s vision of Susie Salmon’s limbo. With added sexy vampires, obviously – hell, a record as rich and moving as this surely deserves some small sliver of the vampire money, right?
And so much more. It deserves to make The Miserable Rich leading players in a chamber pop movement in rude health off the back of I Am a Bird Now, The Flying Club Cup, Let England Shake and Patrick Wolf’s Lupercalia. It deserves a Mercury Prize nod. And it deserves to eat your soul on the long, burning road to Hell. Sorry, did my eyes turn blood red just then…?