The Irrepressibles' debut album, Mirror Mirror, is one of my most-played albums of recent years and Jamie's vocals, coupled with the most beautiful orchestration makes for a sublime, otherworldly experience. Naturally, I worried about the prospect of a less-than-perfect follow-up but I'm pleased to say that this has been one of the best releases from 2012. My personal highlights are the tracks that don't stray too far from the formula of Mirror Mirror and I'm a sucker for an album with a running thread (homosexual love being the most obvious theme here). And that voice! ..A little side-note, the photography and packaging make this a must-have in its physical format.
This CD is the one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. I actually felt transported to some Heavenly place at times. "Two Men in Love" captured me, Jamie's voice simply amazing. A more somber release than Mirror, Mirror, yes, but just as memorable and addictive. Being raised here in the States, I am listening more and more to music from other countries and feel more enriched and enlightened for it. Don't get me wrong, The Irrepressibles are certainly not the first "foreign" artist I have in my collection. It just seems American music in my iTunes list is dwindling quite fast! I do believe my ears thank me for it ;)
First of all we have to speak of Jamie McDermott and his composition. It is a vast open-space music evoking open plains combed by some strong and yet light breeze, not quite a wind, but that can develop some strong and powerful gusts now and then. The violin and the piano are used as atmosphere building instruments and they are at times sad but mesmerizing in their way to drape us in long notes or sequences of harmonious clear and both separated and tied up notes.
Then there is the voice. Jamie McDermott uses two different ranges. A rather simple tenor voice that does not take any strength, any muscular force because it is the back base of the singing, the place where the singing finds its rest, respite and starting impulsion. But from this tenor range another range emerges regularly with power and elevation. It is considered by some as a countertenor range and probably is. It goes up into the high pitched range of human voice, not too high though but just enough to be associated with the power of flying up and up into some musical sky. This soaring countertenor voice is like the suffering, the desire for liberation and the conquering impulse of some sentimental, emotional and physical freedom that cannot be achieved otherwise.
This countertenor flying up into the soaring impulses of social liberation, the alighting emotions of sexual freedom is perfect to evoke what is beyond the edge of normalcy, on the other side of the edge of conformity and it is mostly some love for men, some passion for other men, for one other man, for one man he loves in his longed for nudity, in his craved for muscular force and mental power, the power of that nude body endowed with a human mind that speaks to the mind of the singer, of the man impersonated in the song who wanders in his soft tenor voice and then goes beyond the barrier, the frontier, the strand just before the open sea of his countertenor elevation, assumption, ascension too. He is in love and cannot escape it and he alights into the chasm and soars over the great water falls merging his vision with the cascades of some stream going through and down some big cataracts and yet he remains the eagle flying, gliding over the maelstrom of his love, being a part of it, and yet high over it and enjoying his love-scape.
There is also the text, the lyrics of these songs. Jamie McDermott writes his stories as some vast myths that do not go beyond simple sentences in succession. His style is the concatenation of successive strokes building some more global picture if you impressionistically step back and let the strokes caress you mentally one after the other without any end. Let yourself be hypnotized by these small utterances that prompt you forward into a sensual vision of sensuous abandonment. This lyrical style is in perfect agreement with the music that in the same way brings one small musical phrase after another of clear separate piano notes, at times repetitive in the minimalist way, at times crisscrossed with another sentence from the violin that wraps it up in tied up longer notes. The piano is like the body and the violin either the clothing he discards or the desire he cultivates and realizes through his caressing fingers on the keyboard of the desired skin.
He is the libidinous arrow that penetrates the body of the desired body and enjoys its embedding in the throbbing and bleeding flesh. He is the body that receives this arrow and enjoys his being thus martyrized by the love of the other, the love he experiences in the deepest inside territories of his carnal fire. He is the youth that is bound to the sacrificial pole of the Aztecs of older times and who is sacrificed to the god of the tribe with the arrows of the warriors that penetrate his body with no intention to kill, with the intention to make the arrow ordeal last as long as possible for the youth to enjoy the exquisite and eventually lethalm pleasure of being wounded and penetrated by these bolting darts.
Yet he can say what he wants he is not a clown. He is a lover who is seen as a buffoon by the normalized society around him. But he is the one who can shed tears because he has a heart, because he is in love, because he does not care whether the one he loves falls back into the ruts of normalcy or not since he will go on loving him and desiring him. He is the one who can see what is over the moon, on the other side of the moon, the other side that is beyond the edge of standardized behavior. Is there an opening on that road or is it a dead end? The answer is in the cello and other string instruments that supports a very repetitive piano with their own repetitiveness. The opening is beyond the simple repetitiveness of that minimalist sensuous life we are obliged to mould ourselves into.
And the adventure can only come to an end which is the begging for a second beginning because the door closed itself and the windows banged shut and the lover of the other side of the cliff edge has lost his lover but is still animated, haunted by his love. Let yourself go into that sentimental journey and this edge-bound philandering.
If you have a passion like me for seeking out the unique this is it,if you are fan of marc almond,anthony and the johnsons and love a band with a passion in theatrics this is it,jaime the singer a wonderful pop star in the making,please buy their music they need to let anyone in on their secret,please lets have a tour your audience awaits you !!!!!!!
I was a late bloomer regarding Jamie and his band. Yes I got a glimpse of it in Getting Go, the go doc project and was instantly hooked. Teetering right on the edge of classical music, his poperatic voice and theatrical string arrangements will leave you breathless and hungry for more. This second album, sadly I have yet to purchase Mirror Mirror (not an easy task), is bravely exploring love and lust for another man. There are no second meanings, Jamie is lyrically baring his emotional world and delivering such colossal songs as Two Men in Love, To Be and Arrow. Bring into the mix three orchestral haiku, magnificent Tears, New World, final song Ship (an amazing just over two minute teaser) and you have a perfect recipe - album of nude emotions.
Stunning. Other worldly. Beautiful. Overtly gay and harvested from that perspective/experience with thought provoking references that challenge my straight life-view...That said and even so.... Irrelevant to the utter flipping transcendent beauty you have here. I would never dare put my heart and soul out on a creative plate for all to see like Jamie does here, but without the guts to do so, nothing like this would ever emerge. Breathtaking and ballsy to boot. Do not pass on an opportunity to see them/ him live. Summing up: love is love is love.
I really love this fine piece of art by The Irrepressibles. The notes, the tunes, the lyrics, everything is so enchanting that I just keep listening to this over and over. "Tears", "Two men in love", "Arrow" and "Ship" are definitely my favourites!