“From the top of Muesli Mountain, Way out to the West Pier…..Bri-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ghton…..From deepest darkest Hove, To the Amex Stadium”
There was no way in the world that we were going to pass up on the opportunity of reviewing an album due for release on Friday 6th April, that has an opening track called ‘Brighton’ with the above wording contained in the tune.
The album in question is the fourteen studio album by Spear Of Destiny and is entitled ‘Tontine’. It will be officially released on singer Kirk Brandon’s own Eastersnow Recording Company label imprint and it will be available to purchase on CD, Vinyl and Download.
It’s amazing to think that Kirk Brandon has now been leading Spear Of Destiny for 35 years and that they were formed (in 1983) after the demise of Kirk’s post punk iconic rockers Theatre Of Hate.
The current line up of Spear is the longest serving to date and features Adrian Portas (New Model Army / Sex Gang Children), Craig Adams (Sisters of Mercy / The Cult / The Mission) and Phil Martini (Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind) on drums, with long time Brandon cohort Steve Allan-Jones covering the keyboards.
Tontine is an unusual name for an album. It refers to an investment plan for raising capital. Possibly a thought along the lines of the Pledge campaign that music artists use these days.
For those of you that are unaware, the Muesli Mountain reference is the name affectionately given to the Hanover area of Brighton, which is part of the electoral ward of Hanover and Elm Grove, where over 16,000 local residents live. Anyway, back to the album.
The opener is five and a half minutes long and is called ‘Brighton’ and it’s a potted history of one man’s view of how he sees our city, warts’n’all. Makes interesting listening to the song when you were born here and lived through the same times.
There are eleven songs in total ‘Brighton’, ‘MK Ultra’, ‘Mr. Livingstone I Presume’, ‘Second Life’, ‘Afrikan Proverb’, ‘No Other, Enigma’, ‘Medievalists’, ‘Monuments In The Sand’, ‘Nothing’, ‘Peace You Will Never Have’ and they cover a wide range of subjects.
Clearly Brandon is an intellectual fellow as he writes about a range of subjects including the CIA’s mind control program (MK Ultra) to a chap who used to man Brighton’s Zap Club door (Mr. Livingstone I Presume). In fact I have to say the latter is actually my favourite track of the whole album, despite the opener.
The song ‘Second Life’ sees Brandon uttering his distinctive wailing vocal style (much loved by Spear Of Destiny and Theatre Of Hate fans alike) over drumming akin to what you would see in a film about the US Civil War.
You known when a song starts “If we’re a virus and computers never lie” you know that it’s going to be an interesting listen and that’s what ‘Afrikan Proverb’ is. I particularly like the keyboard work on this one.
‘Enigma’ is a tune about a man that doesn’t exist! It’s a modern (1956) take on Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name and even has a western movie feel about it.
‘Medievalists’ doesn’t thankfully sound at all like it’s title, in fact it’s arguably the heaviest track on the album. Brandon’s sings “And all the little girls….” quite superbly.
With ‘Monuments In The Sand’ we are back to the open plains of the prairie with the derricks nodding for oil in the ground. Could this be the only song that mentions derricks? Can’t think of another one.
The penultimate track is ‘Nothing’ and Kirk bellows “Are you lonely baby, Are you lonely now” over an almost heavy rock soundtrack.
We’ve finally got the end of our Brandon journey with ‘Peace You Will Never Have’. Another composition featuring conflict, war and despair, clearly a subject that he finds it most easy to write about. He has such a wealth of subject matters to plunder throughout history and around the world. Brandon is a caring person that feels through his music and he passes it onto us. I have listened to this album four times now and it gets better with every play. Order it here: http://kirkbrandondotcom.bigcartel.com/
Kirk Brandon and Sam Sansbury will be performing a special ‘aKoustiK/listening party’ of the ‘Tontine’ album at the Prince Albert in Brighton on Thursday 5th April. The doors open at 7:30 pm and tickets are £10 in advance and are on sale right now and can be purchased here: https://kirkbrandon.com/shows.
The full Spear Of Destiny line-up will be touring in May and June, with a date at the Con Club in Lewes on Sunday 3rd June. To grab your Con Club Spear Of Destiny tickets click this link: https://www.kirkbrandon.com/shows?calendar_page=2
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