Thursday, October 6, 2011

Paul Simpson - Man In a Burning Anorak Vol. 1 (2004)

Frontman/songwriter Paul Simpson of The Wild Swans has released two albums worth of previously unreleased songs , in part to raise funds to finish the band's forthcoming album. All for a worthwhile cause.

Man In a Burning Anorak 1 (12 tracks) Unreleased antiques, curios and failed experiments from Paul’s wilderness years.

*Please Note: Recording quality is poor on the home demos Peace Man, Beautiful and Northern Lights.


1. Contact High
2. Electric Sunrise Pt.1
3. Sunken Ships
4. Beautiful French Degenerate
5. Apollo Tomorrow
6. Peace Man (Demo)
7. Astral Girl
8. Beautiful (Demo)
9. Northern Lights (Demo)
10. Ghosts Of The Russian Forest
11. I'm Gone
12. Dark Blossoms


by D.C. Harrison

Volume 1 is essentially a set of previously unused tracks from over the last 20 years or so. With this in mind, sound quality varies greatly. Beautiful was described, according to the sleeve notes, by Shack manager Nathan McGough as the worst sounding demo he’d ever heard, a fact Simpson takes some pride in. Underneath, though, there's a strong melody begging to be reborn in the future. The strongest tracks are, perhaps predictably, those that benefit from the best recordings. Contact High is a solid opener, Apollo Tomorrow is excellent and earned the approval of Ian McCulloch. Astral Girl, meanwhile, was strong enough to almost snare Simpson a record deal alone, before bad luck with greedheads scuppered that idea. Collections of unused tracks are often a decent barometer to a songwriter’s quality control. Judging by this, Simpson's is on the high side. Ghosts Of The Russian Forest and Beautiful French Degenerate are other highlights, the latter featuring a great line of how someone close to you can raise you up even when your friends are against you ('My girl tells me that I'm great/she makes me feel like William Blake').


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