During the nineties, Thomas Feiner was the frontman of the bandAnywhen, working on two albums before recording "The opiates" on 2001. This album would be the last one for the band, and seven years later, David sylvian who handles the label Samadhi sound is releasing not only a newly mastered, re-packaged edition of the album, with new artwork as well, but with two new songs by Feiner, who was left to finish the job alone. The voice of Feiner, along with the music played originally by his band reminds of names such as Nick Cave (his more rescent material), Tindersticks, Mark Lanegan and more of that kind. Feiner and Anywhen managed to bring forth the romantic, yet heavy with smoke and alcohol atmosphere you can get from tom waits "Closing time" for instance. This "emotinal gravity", as David sylvian describes feiner's music, is being expressed through the entire album in several and different ways, to a touching musical experience.
"The siren songs" serves as a very dramatic and grand opening to the album. Remember how "play dead" by bjork sounded? This sort of openly emotional music is to be found in here as well. Feiner does not bring forth some brave new ideas. Singing "What if love is the greatest damn lier?" kind of expose the idea right in the second line of singing of this very first song. But nevertheless, Feiner delievers the authentic drama to his music and manage to excite with his rough voice. The second song, "Dinah & the beautiful blue" shows a calmer Thomas Feiner, controlling a much lower voice in a Scott walker way. Feiner shows a more romantic approach on "Scars and glasses". A sweet ballad that can help you forget the heavier emotional side that dominate the rest of the album. On "postcard", Feiner continues to search for the truh when he sings "I found more truth in a cheap bottle of wine..." and brings lmark lanegan's "Whiskey for the holy ghost". His more recent song, "Yonderhead" show more maturity and well crafted song writing, with a real dramatic orchestrated music to it. "Mesmerene" Caught my attention from the first listening. While it is indeed more traditional and "simple" than the rest of the songs, it's a real powerful and painful song that cannot be ignored. "Toy" is a very mellow, Tom waits-like ballad that demonstrates Feiner's voice in a very rusty way. "For now" is a more somber song that takes the previous song to a more toned-down direction. "Betty caine" is a bittersweet ballad with a more mellow side , and "All that numbs you" is a grand closure in the same way "The siren songs" was a grand opening. Feiner's great vocal work comes to its climax in this song.
It is not this common for albums like this to find their way to the review section of Heathen Harvest, but in this case at least, it's for the better. "The opiates" hits emotionally with old memories and its musical theme, while not extreme in any way, is well composed and more than worthy for the ears. A lovely album.
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