Albums consisting entirely of instrumental music are housed within a genre musical appreciation needs time to grow into.
We all begin hearing that one song or tune that grips our imagination, creates sparks firing on our synapses, and causes a hunger to consume more of this tantalizing new experience called ‘music’. And be it pop, rock, or hard-house beat, we all grow and mature as life unrolls before us, delivers moments that have gone on to form entrenched memories buried deep within our conscious thoughts and held dearly as things of personal importance.
And as we grow so too does our taste in music, seeking deeper emotions in our aural compositions, new flavours to enjoy and – perhaps – evoke the feeling of it being the first time again when music was a unseen companion that somehow spoke directly to you.
Such is the feeling of hearing the re-mastered 5 Popes album by Texas troubadours of tremendous ear-ticklers, My Education.
Concentration Waltz is a reflective intro to muse upon the vagaries of life, a contemplative beat syncopating along to an imagined steppingthrough the years of your mind; memories are re-called and warm moments embraced with a heartfelt sigh of indulgent reflection, the gentle accents of guitar meandering through an almost ignored cymbal underlining the beat. Building towards a crescendo, you almost don’t notice the howls and sighs of synth in the background, building towards a swell that plateaus out at the very point of almost unbearable anticipation before calming you, relaxing you, bringing you back into the indulgence of memories made real by experience.
Lesson 3 contains the only vocals on the album in the guise of an instructive detailing of a man’s life; barely on the cusp of hearing it feels more a commentary than a command, a matter-of-fact banality of the day to day necessities endured and ultimately interned into the tray marked Unimportant in our minds.
As a sobering litany of the minutiae that goes into accruing the memories we cherish and prize it manages to unveil the monotony from behind the barriers we erect in our efforts to forget, lets you better appreciate and therefore enjoy the few moments we feel truly matter.
Nightrider Meets The Waterfall is a much rockier beast of deeds done and rarely spoken of; like the voice in your head that reminds you of all the wrong turns, bad decisions, and oft-times questionably motivated acts committed by your hand or in your stead. Further into the track and the composition of calling-out-through-chords steps back to a calmer shore, acknowledging the dark corners with pointing finger of judgement that expects no justification for the things that you have hidden from the world, only that you remember they are there.
Deep Cut re-traces Concentration Waltz’ reflection of the years past, though with a darker tone of melancholy that conjures feelings of acceptance through inevitability rather than of deliberate choice.
Deeper still and the track launches you above the clouds and into the wide-open expanses you felt when realising the world was yours to claim; your future a map drawn entirely by your own hand and feeling both awe-struck and excited by the limitless possibilities awaiting your every explorative step.
Crime Story is pin-stripes and pin-sharp procrastination waiting on the corner with its foot ready to catchy your own wandering step, bring you to the floor and steal your breaths of denial and blame-negating.
Chaotic with a controlling hand shaking the walls and rocking the floor the overall sound can become a little too much, with the odd out-of-synch/time feel bouncing about the place in a sense of disassociation that makes listening to this track an uncomfortable trial rather than a treat; perhaps intentional and reflective of those memories you wish you could forget it’s something to get through rather than be enjoyed, but still an experience nonetheless.
Thanksgiving is a more traditional expression of being set adrift on the warm, clear oceans of your soul, consumptive and bringing the blinding white emptiness of an everlasting heavenly moment. Sedate and deliberate of pace we’re in the companionship of close friends and honest souls, surrounded by the most closest of our fond memories and the people that were there; how we felt that moment when and how you wish for that time again, knowing the chance to replay the moment never to yours to attain bringing a slight tinge of bitterness that serves to enhance those times with an even fonder state of recollection and joy.
A reveal for those yet to mature to the taste the album 5 Popes is an album I cannot recommended highly enough; yes, you may have your chart friendly pop-songs and the parent worrying numbers threatening morality and culpability and whatever else the current generation is being told they should hold umbrage with, but as Bill Hicks once said ‘It’s just a ride’, the soundtrack to the best-bits provided by My Education.
1. Concentration Waltz
2. Lesson 3
3. Nightrider Meets the Waterfall
4. Deep Cut
5. Crime Story
6. Thanksgiving (bonus track)