Himmasongs/Six Degrees Records
Articulate, Grown Up Songs With a Bluesy Vibe.
Obviously a name like Peter Himmelman will stick in the mind; but with so much new music passing under the RMHQ bridge since his last release in 2017 I had to check out the review to find out why and BINGO!
Yep; I remember now ……. “Declan McManus channelling an amped up Randy Newman, and his band sounds like a pub-funk E Street Band with a touch of Mink DeVille“.
Hmmmmm ……. in my new notes I agree with the first half of that statement; there’s a definite Elvis Costello/Randy Newman vibe here; but on this outing Himmelman has stripped everything back to more Bluesier basics; not quite raw; as there is plenty of sweet fat on the bones; but the Blues this most certainly is.
While the production is deceptively simple and stark; the song title Suite For Tambourine and Hand Claps is not just articulate; but shows what a sharp sense of humour Peter Himmelman has on this Honky-Tonky, Jazzy Blues song.
When I say ‘humour’ it’s never ‘laugh out loud funny’ ……. but the type of funny you would associate with early Randy Newman and latter day Elvis Costello and ……. dare I say it …….. mid-period Dylan too (among other songwriters that grown up music fans adore).
While his observations are sharp and shrewd, his writing his generally from the poetic school – which makes the prescient The Wail of Trumpets and The Clatter of Hoofs; which is very much a ‘song of our times’ or Flying Across the Blacktop essential listening for fans of any of those more famous artists.
While the album flows like country stream, no two songs ever sound the same, which obviously is a good thing and he cleverly uses tempos and even musical styles to great effect, too.
A Place in Your Heart and This is My Offering are both love songs; but of the ilk that you have to sit still and listen intently; poring over not just the words themselves, but the way Himmelman delivers them, letting them unravel like a Mystery Play until you finally sigh, and think “That could be me.”
Who’s to say if Straw and Kerosene or Press On are to be taken quite literally or are just the products of a very fertile imagination; but both are as staggering in their eloquence and imagery …… plus their backing music is so intense you may even find yourself in a cold sweat the first time you hear them.
It would be far too easy, but time consuming to describe every song here …… as they are all worthy of your attention; so I’m going to leave you to find them yourself, as I’m now jumping to my Favourite Song Challenge.
It’s a ‘Challenge’ as over the next year or so most songs here will ‘speak to me’ at one time or another; but this week two in particular have stopped me in my tracks.
The quirky and jaunty Truth Spoke in a Hard Time; a beautiful love song hidden inside a dark tale of a man ‘surveying a Dystopian landscape’ ……… which many of us have had to do in way or another in 2020!
The other; and I think my actual Favourite Song, as it somehow encapsulates my own feelings (on a regular basis, sadly) and when you too, first hear Outside Looking In you will presume it was written by one of the industry’s more illustrious and Award laden songwriters; but no …… it is from the pen and mouth of Peter Himmelman himself.
I’m ‘late to the party’ as I only discovered Peter Himmelman via his THERE IS NO CALAMITY in 2017; yet PRESS ON is his 15th album.
Get on board now.
Released 31st July 2020