Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth - Utopian Ashes (Vinyl)

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Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie has teamed up with solo artist and Savages vocalist Jehnny Beth to release the collaborative album Utopian Ashes.

Utopian Ashes explores the loss, miscommunication and emotional inarticulacy that a married couple experience as they realize that their relationship is breaking down. The collection draws on the tradition of country soul classics, such as Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris’s "Grievous Angel" and George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s "We Go Together," to deal with the heavy realities of love turning sour. It’s an album for people who have dealt with the inevitable sadness that comes with age and acknowledged the realities of life. There is no sweetening of the pill, but it does achieve what should be the goal of all good art: to make us feel less alone. And while it’s not autobiographical, it channels heartfelt truth from the songwriters’ own experiences.

In addition to Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth, the album features Johnny Hostile (bass) alongside Primal Scream trio Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (piano) and Darrin Mooney (drums).


I liked the concept, and the lyrics...all creating an atmosphere of a relationship collapsing under the weight of drugs, infidelity and lack of communication. The songs were mostly fine too, often harking back to the groups mellower country soul influenced moments from 'give out but don't give up'.

I just wish the voices carried that bit more emotion, the kind that the often brilliant lyrics really deserved. Bobby and Jehnny are no Gram and Emmylou however, and to be honest often don't sound suited together.

At its best its really great though - 'English towns' A Scott Walker type waltz combines with the dark lyric to create that feeling of being trapped in life so well, 'remember we were lovers' and 'your heart will always be broken' have beautiful arrangements and are quite affecting. 'stones of silence' tries on a latin style rhythm and pulls it off whilst 'you can trust me now' has something of the Lee and Nancy about it.

Backed with Gillespie's Primal Scream players, 'utopian ashes' is quietly impressive, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it could have been even better.

By: garfieldacres

A1 Chase It Down
A2 English Town
A3 Remember We Were Lovers
A4 Your Heart Will Always Be Broken
B1 Stones Of Silence
B2 You Don't Know What Love Is
B3 Self-Crowned King Of Nothingness / You Can Trust Me Now
B4 Living A Lie
B5 Sunk In Reverie


Silvertone Records