David Thomas Broughton and Juice Vocal Ensemble – Sliding the Same Way (Song, by Toad Records)

Photo by Sarah Dorman
Photo by Sarah Dorman

Sliding the Same Way is the new textually layered album to be released by David Thomas Broughton, through Song, by Toad Records, but this time with the Juice Vocal Ensemble. The addition of the ensemble adds unique sonics to this record, but with the first listen it is obvious that it is still the work of DTB, obliquely documented so that the improvised style of the music never fully naturally eases into a comfortable, repetitive or guitar influenced sound.

Now London based, resonating literally and artistically from Yorkshire, Broughton, renowned for his vivid performances which incorporate samples, looping, culminating in a visceral auditory. With improv as his forte, an experimental duet with the illustrious Juice Vocal Ensemble is not far removed from his palette, and widens the overal feel of a David Thomas Broughton recording.

Juice, the cultural whack in the face which is Anna Snow, Sarah Dacey and Kerry Andrew, are renowned for their success in the Tampere Vocal Festival having been the first from the UK to have won. Lending themselves to the more avant–garde end of classical, the trio are acclaimed for their versatility, having worked with the likes of Schlomo and Beardyman on an improvised scale, film OSTs and whilst also recording well-reviewed albums. Their community involvement, hosting music workshops with youths, is also not to be sneered at.

Sliding the Same Way is a formidable listen at the best of time. Lyrics like “I killed a man with a broken glass” within the first track mean that the listener struggles to equate this to easy listening. His solemn, funereal vocals add a graveness, which can only be lightened by the choral collaboration of the Juice Vocal Ensemble. Stripped down to mostly the vocals of all concerned, with the odd strum of an acoustic guitar, this discomfort is prolonged throughout, a glaring, suffering silence.

‘The Assurance’, as a single epitomises this album, with poetry by Broughton such as the, “suffering of others is of great concern, comfort of strangers is of no comfort at all” evocative of the additional sounds of the trio, not actually making the listener feel anymore at ease with their contribution. Discomposure is consistent with Broughton, and the listener should not be fooled into thinking that the imposition of Kerry Andrew, Sarah Dacey and Anna Snow might make this DTB album a relieved listen. They would be deceived into thinking this being the case.

The allure of his voice also has it’s own deception, often making you take a double check at the lyrics of this West Yorkshire folk musician.  Once again with track The Promise’ subtle chords, timbre vocals, we are not anticipating lines such as “I will glass everyone, all you pricks in this bar,” almost shocking the listener.

Packaging rather disconcerting content with harmony, and magnetising auditory, once again David Thomas Broughton brings us another well-produced album, but this time collaborating with those that are at the forefront of the experimental, classical scene, providing us indulgent listeners with harmonious discord. Texturally rich with aural sounds mostly, it is easy to forget that this album is vocals heavy, and the soundscapes evoked merely by that cannot be undermined.

Released on 22nd September 2014, Sliding The Same Way can be purchased via this link


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