North Sea Scrolls Double CD
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Top Customer Reviews
"It's about some hidden information that's become known as the North Sea Scrolls that have come to our notice. This information fundamentally would redefine the way we view our entire history as a nation, and possibly as a planet. It's no small change, this North Sea Scrolls business."
Amongst their re-imaginings, Joe Meek is appointed the Minister of Culture by Lord Protector Oswald Mosley, DJ Chris Evans is burnt at the stake and Enoch Powell, the former "excitable Secretary of State for Death", is now the Poet Laureate. They name check almost everybody from Charles Bronson, Sid James and Gazza to wannabe Princess Anne kidnapper Ian Ball and his namesake (the guitarist from Gomez!) and Tony Allen (a bit-part actor from The Sweeney and Minder). Haines lyrics in particular are laugh out loud funny at times.
A concept album, the first disc features a couple of narratives and 13 songs - six written and sung by Haines, six written and sung by Coughlan with the final track being a collaborative effort. The second disc consists of 'The Whole Show', where the exact same songs from the first disc are preceded by a narrative written and performed by Mueller where he informs the listener of the contents of The North Sea Scrolls. Each narrative is between 1-2 minutes in length and the subject matter of each one is followed by a reinterpretation in song form by either Haines or Coughlan.Read more ›
Mixing fact and fiction at will, the Scrolls' cast of characters is wide and varied and at various points each of Joe Meek (Minister of Culture), Oswald Mosley (Lord Protector), papists, Sid James, Ayatollahs, Hawkwind, Morris Men, Enoch Powell (Poet Laureate), Steve Hillage, On The Buses, Plastic Bertrand, Gazza (not the strip) and all things Australian come under scrutiny - the latter in one of Coughlan's finest moments, in which Australian tribute acts are taken to their (logical?) extreme in the form of (Coughlan's song) The Australian IRA Show (inspired by an Irish musician named Corr).
The North Sea Scrolls comprises 2 CDs - one with (essentially) just the 12 Scrolls songs, plus (one of the album's highlights) The Anthem Of The Scrolls - and the second with Mueller's full narration betwixt (oh no, they've got me at it now!) the songs. I must admit to a definite preference for Haines' compositions - for me, some of these are right up there with the best Auteurs' songs (and likewise make excellent use of the cello, in this case played by Audrey Riley).Read more ›
The version I bought has two versions of the album in one lovely double CD package. CD1 is just the songs (15 tracks), whilst CD2 is the same songs with excerpts from each of the North Sea Scrolls between each track (27 tracks). The album's narrative makes more sense on CD2 but realistically most listeners will probably not want to hear the full version after getting a handle on the concept. The album's premise is that the North Sea Scrolls were discovered stashed in an East Anglian boarding house and the scrolls contain a hidden history of Britain.
50% of the songs are sung by Cathal Coughlan, and 50% sung by Luke Haines. The listening experience suggests that each artist worked independently on the songs - as each style is so distinctive. I find that Cathal Coughlan's songs are harsher and angrier, whilst Luke Haines' are a bit more accessible and immediate.
Luke's tunes continue his usual obsessions, and throw in a few new ones too, and the album's concept is typically Haines-ian. After a preamble about the Scrolls we're off and running with a classic Luke Haines song "Broadmoor Blues Delta" which embraces Gomez (the Mercury Prize winning band of yesteryear), a Vauxhall Astra, the man who tried to kidnap Princess Anne, Berkshire, a sing song in a psychiatric unit to Robert Johnson, the "MTV blues" courtesy of The White Stripes, and so on. How can anyone not love this man? Wonderful.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The concept is great, a kind of modern Bonzo dog doo da band.
But, the sound recording is atrocious. Read more
Are they mad? Yes. Are the brilliant? Yes, Do they deserve a wider audience? Probably not. Still I love itPublished on 13 April 2013 by Dan Daly
Eccentric but Delightful is one way of describing this CD. Reminiscent of the Bonzo Dog Dooh-Dah Band at times (But in a much more modern stylee), NSS has good songs and... Read morePublished on 28 Dec. 2012 by A. J. Potter