Well well, it’s time to formally announce a new album here at Song, by Toad Records. Sliding the Same Way is a collaboration between David Thomas Broughton – who you hopefully know from our latest Split 12″ release – and the Juice Vocal Ensemble, and it is absolutely fucking lovely – pre-order one here.
It’s another semi-improvised album on the label, and makes me kind of wonder how many of my favourite albums are also semi-improvised, if only anyone would tell me. This one was recorded in Otley when David was back over from North Korea for a while, so perhaps a slightly more intriguing set of logistical hurdles than our usual ones, but if the album was at all rushed or uncertain you’d never know it.
I don’t know much about Juice until I heard this album, but holy shit what they’ve done here is beautiful. Whilst they embrace David’s experimentalism a lot of the time, their presence and the need to work together seems to have curtailed some of his more meandersome instincts, and when all four voices decide that it is time for the gorgeous stuff to break through the effect is absolutely stunning.
This album has everything on it which made me want to work with David in the first place, most obviously that incredible ability to make ostensibly small shifts in mood which can take you from weird to confrontational to playful to heart-breaking and right back again in the blink of a an eye. Just as you steel yourself for something abrasively strange to happen, you get something layered, melodic and beautiful. And just before it all gets too heavy, brief, almost throwaway little ditties like Woodwork crop up.
I know his use of an acoustic gets David rather oddly labelled as a folk musician, but some of the group singing on this album is really quite folky at times, particularly on tunes like the aforementioned Woodwork and the lovely Yorkshire Fog which follows. But in general this album is a lush collection of ballads which embrace the strange and the lovely in equal measure.
It’s amazing how much depth Juice add to this as well. It’s so lush, and their contributions are so varied from song to song, that you can forget you’re listening to an album which is almost entirely a capella. It feels like a band album, almost, with the fullness and versatility of sound they and David create between them.
Sliding the Same Way will be released on CD and download on the 22nd September, but in the meanwhile enjoy the free song above. It’s bloody gorgeous. You’re welcome.