A Blue Flame - What We've Become Is All That Now Remains (Independently released)

A Blue Flame – What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains (Independently released)

Richard Stone is a curious fellow. The Leicester based songwriter seems to be something of a chameleon, delving successfully into doo-wop one minute (‘The Sun Refused To Shine‘) and glancing back pensively and wistful the next on finale ‘Goodbye‘, much like Clarence the angel from ‘It’s A Wonderful Life‘. And it is perhaps fitting that such a character aligns itself so accurately with the music of A Blue Flame, for this is an album peppered with references to faith of one kind or another.

Certainly the most obvious in such a mould is ‘From God On Down‘, in which Stone himself adopts the persona of the Great Almighty (“I may, I may not exist / you might believe, you may well laugh“) and winds up, rather delightfully, sounding like nineties Leeds cult heroes Cud trying their hand at reggae. It sounds deep, but deep with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

With God Is In The Tv having run Scott Walker Week all throughout mid-August, it is a happy coincidence that the Ohio born icon has clearly rubbed off on Stone for the opener ‘When Time Slowed Down‘, whereas its successor, ‘Everyday Yesterday’, sounds like something you might get if you locked Burt Bacharach in a room with Mike Batt and didn’t let them out until teatime.

What the Leicester based frontman seems to be very good at doing is painting vivid pictures with quite splendid poetry, the astute posturing and theatrical phrasing of which can often be likened to that of Morrissey. This is most pertinently clear on the brilliant ‘The Girl Inside Of You‘ and the drunken waltz of ‘Be Kind To Yourself‘, the latter lamenting that “You want to be great but you know you’re just run of the mill“. This brings us back to that whole faith thing again, but this time, it’s about having faith merely in yourself.

What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains is brimming over with quotable vignettes and an impressive array of influences that we can only speculate Stone has drawn from. Perhaps best of the bunch is the catchy, immediate ‘Our Memories Fade‘, which sounds a little like a very young Bowie performing a poppier version of Leonard Cohen‘s ‘Stranger Song‘.

These songs have been meticulously crafted for an immediate resonance, rather than being ones that slowly curdle their way into our hearts. All that now remains is to see what Richard Stone becomes. By rights, what he SHOULD become is a major star.

What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains is out now.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.