Very often indie pop appears to be the playground of youth. But we get periodic reminders that the genre, and our lives, can be enriched by the contributions of experienced musicians with some decades in the rear view mirror. Such an apt reminder is Birling Gap, the new album by UK project The Catenary Wires. The album is named for a significant and dramatic geological feature - the white cliffs forming part of England's southern coast (a segment of which is the cover art for the album). The choice is deliberate and incisive, for the songs on the album are very English in tone and perspective and the themes are dramatic. I don't mean cap D dramatic as in famine, war, or Boris Johnson and Donald Trump getting lifetime appointments at leaders of their respective countries, but rather the dramas that form the fabric of our daily lives. Here, the songwriters focus on the joys, uncertainties, anxieties, successes and failures of life, both looking forward and backward. They also share their scorn for those who push pretend solutions while disguising their racism and bigotry. But while not shying away from darkness, the songs taken as a whole are infused with a sturdy appreciation for surviving and, ultimately, and affirmation of life. Of course, it all hits the ears quite pleasurably because the melodies and harmonies are the sort that never fail to touch the hearts of indie pop fans.
We featured album track "Mirrorball" recently (link), so we offer three other gums for your evaluation below. Note that the Bandcamp page has a link to the lyrics, and we highly recommend that you listen to the songs with the lyrics
The Catenary Wires are Amelia Fletcher (vocals/harmonium), Rob Pursey (vocals/guitar), Fay Hallam (keys/vocals), Andy Lewis (bass/percussion), and Ian Button (drums/vocals). Amelia and Rob wrote the songs. Birling Gap is out now via Skep Wax, the band's label, but Shelflife is handling the album in the North America.