THE BODY LYRE : Escape Songs
By Amanda Mills
‘Escape Songs’ has been a long time coming. Wellington’s sometimes-two-piece, but often comprising up to six members The Body Lyre recorded it over a 12-month period, with one song appearing online at the end of each month. The result is a claustrophobic, reverb-soaked, layered, textured, and beautifully imperfect collection of songs that highlight how great music can be made without a lot of money, but a lot of talent. Recorded by Rhydian Thomas, Ana McGowan, Graeme Cummack, Callum Gay, Tim Shann and Angus Winter in a shipping container, ‘Escape Songs’ is a dark and stunning record. The sound owes a lot to local alternative music, and Southern Gothic guitar music, with Thomas’ vocals reminiscent of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen at their deepest, contrasting nicely with McGowan’s lighter, ethereal voice. There is plenty here to admire. No Problem has soft angelic harmonies, and crashing guitars, a complete shock to the following acoustic guitar-based Geranium, which is far more delicate. The two standout tracks are The Colonel and his Birds, which has Thomas’s creepy spoken word recitation over sampled bird sounds, and Daughter which is something else, an emotional tribute to a deceased friend that defies sentimentality, and becomes incredibly moving.