25 Aug 2013

MONEY -The Shadow Of Heaven

Released on 26th August 2013 on Bella Union, the debut long player from Manchester's MONEY marks them out as a band with great potential. 


Middle-aged music fans often lament the lack of a new, progressive musical movement to rival that of the punk era that shook the foundations of their world back in the late 1970’s. Well here’s a band and a debut album that suggests the new revolution may have dawned, but it’s a quiet revolution that may for many go unnoticed.
The punk movement was born of a DIY culture that gave loud voice to the dissatisfaction of concerned young men and women and as such it was in your face and impossible to ignore. Today’s youth are arguably more comfortably-off, or at least somewhat cushioned from harsh reality by virtual reality and so, as a general rule less engaged and less enraged. 
Money are a group of young men who formed a band in Manchester. You might have expected them to write about youth unemployment, racial and religious conflict or other seemingly obvious subjects but these are young men interested in more abstract matters - at least abstract to anyone not taking time to look carefully around themselves and to ask what is really happening. Money are a band who look closely and see the worship of false gods and the existence of a phony spiritualism fed by capitalism and materialism. The band are inspired by art and language and other cerebral considerations and that informs their approach to their music. 
Lyrically the songs have a poetic beauty that rewards careful listening and careful thought. It’s the album’s only shame, therefore, that occasionally and particularly towards the start of the album the lyrics are hard to hear in the mix. As a result the message is sometimes unclear. The opening track ‘So Long (God Is Dead) seems to be a song of protest against lack of individuality - God being a symbol of individual fulfillment of potential - but you have to listen very carefully indeed to decipher. In that sense the sparse and beautiful lament to a habitable city ‘Goodnight London’ comes as a pleasant relief.
Musically the sonic, ethereal wash of sound drifts over you if you allow it; if you fail to completely engage with it in a conscious way. In that sense it’s an album that can be listened to in different ways; as a beautiful backdrop to a dream-like state, or as a carefully studied piece of interesting and melodic composition. In that sense this is perhaps a companion piece to These New Puritans’ Field of Dreams. 
Maybe this album fits into a wider context still; one which will be easier to discern when seen from some distance in the future. Money themselves see a cultural revival and a new kind of real spirituality coming and perhaps they are in the vanguard. If it sounds as good as this then let’s hope they’re right. “It’s a call, the mind will save us all.”

Russell Poad