Torch wailing may not sound the most generous or indeed promising descriptor but that’s what I scribble down listening to this star-studded offering. However, it fits. Paul Mosley is indeed an emotional torch singer. You’re Going To Die! drips with yearning and a hatful of painful wistfulness but on this new offering, he is also possessed of a jaunty enthusiasm. No shyness about leaping into some pretty bouncy rackets like a drunken puppy.
Does it work? Well, it kind of does. You’re Going To Die! does veer perilously close to Simon and Garfunkle crossed with Trevor and Simon at times, but, just about stays on the artful and serious side of the line. Which is a good job when you’ve roped in collaborators such as Colin Smith (Feist), Tom Moth (Florence and the Machine) and ex Mediaeval Baebe, Esther Dee amongst others. Solid workers require a solid product and, for all the perky pizzicatos and jagged percussion, there are equal amounts of focussed melodies and gorgeous vocal harmonies.
Perhaps the name of the label for previous releases should give a clue as to Mosley’s take on things. Folkwit Records is a rather droll name after all. And rather illustrative. This album is certainly grounded in folk even as songs such as the raucous ‘People Are Idiots‘ fling some synth into the mix and romp off into a rather different direction. Some rather arch lyrics also take it out of the traditional folk sphere.
You are getting melody-driven songs, however. There is a groove but that is escaping from underneath what are singer-songwriter efforts at heart. Vocals, guitar, piano, that skittering percussion and some ethereal harmonies. That’s what you’re going to get.
It’s perhaps a curious time of year for this release. In the UK at least. It’s a sunny, optimistic effort surely more fitting of breezy warm summer’s evenings. A record that begs to be heard outdoors on rapidly drying grass. Minus one degree on a darkened day in Glasgow does lend it a rather anachronistic air.
You Are Going To Die! can seem a little too clever at times. It’s a confident record seemingly untroubled by anything that anyone else is putting out. If you’ve written a double album folk opera as Mosley has, perhaps you’re entitled to feel a little smug.
An intriguing little record though not for everyone, I feel. Delivering relentlessly upbeat vibes in an ever so quirky manner may irk. There may be a healthy dose of black humour but it’s delivered positively. Somewhat one of a kind. One that requires the right mood, the right place and the right time lest you chuck it out the window for being so, “overwhelmingly fucking happy!”