Pete Chambers with another Backbeat Column for the Coventry Telegraph
Martin Bowes of Attrition has released a new album, Millions Of The Mouthless Dead
Over the years Martin Bowes, the man behind Attrition, has created something of an audio palace to the cult of the atmospheric soundscape.
He has a talent of transporting his listeners out of their comfort zones and into the realms of the strange and disturbing.
Just when you think Attrition have reached some kind of critical mass, out comes another work of art that defines their legacy.
The new Attrition album, Millions Of The Mouthless Dead, by Martin Bowes and Anni Hogan, is based on a poem by Charles Hamilton Sorley and is inspired by William Bowes, Martin’s grandfather, and the millions on all sides that experienced the living hell that was the Europe of 1914-1918.
The masterstroke is giving the listener the ammunition (pun intended) in the noises and sounds that help to create a soundtrack to the mental visions of the work.
The sounds are often just hints of tanks, planes, explosions, but they combine to create a beautiful “shivers down the spine bleakness”.
Thankfully, none of us will ever know the hell that these soldiers on all sides experienced during World War I, but these sounds, uncomfortable as they are, take you to the front, in the trenches, the blood, the gas and the death.
Ultimately the whole work is an inspiration. It’s hard not to be moved by this. Martin has produced a masterpiece of sound, a soundtrack to the human spirit.
If the contents are stunning, then the packaging on the deluxe edition is astounding. Wrapped in a hessian sandbag and theatrical barbed wire, the CD comes beautifully bound, including a booklet, reproductions of his grandfather's postcards, a T-shirt and a memory stick in the shape of a bullet containing the album and Attrition’s back catalogue.
I wonder if the Imperial War Museum has heard this album? It certainly wouldn't be out of place in its galleries.
Martin said: “The name Attrition that I chose 35 years ago for the band I was starting came from ‘War of Attrition’, a term used for the First World War, inspired by my fascination with it all after stories from my grandfather William Bowes’ time on the frontline in Ypres, Belgium, in 1917.
“I actually attempted to write a song about it in those early days... but it was too big a topic for me to handle successfully back then.
“In 2014 I finally took to it, creating Millions Of The Mouthless Dead, merging original war poetry with dark ambient soundscapes, teaming up with Anni Hogan on piano and various guest speakers reading war poetry in French and German, including Wolfgang Flur (ex-Kraftwerk) – a big influence himself on my music in the early days.
“I am happy with how this has turned out. As much as any artist can be happy with their work. My father, Arthur, is pleased, and a part of my family history is now simultaneously published for the first time and yet laid to rest in my own heart.”
The Enemy’s new sound is working so well
Tom Clarke, frontman of The Enemy (middle), has played a part in the creation of the new venue.
Coventry Music Museum has a wall of all the top ten hits to come out of Coventry and Warwickshire.
It begins with Frank Ifield’s I Remember You in 1962, and ends with The Enemy’s Had Enough in 2007.
I would dearly love to see that wall grow, and just when you wonder where that next hit is coming from, up jumps Coventry’s finest trio with a brand new single.
The new song, It’s Automatic, is something of a departure for the band.
Yes, it has the usual Enemy attack to it and, while I have always loved that hint of a sneer in Tom Clarke’s vocals, this time it’s much more about melody, and he sounds very different, and it’s working so well.
All hail a band that are brave enough to move on musically, this new single is outstanding.
Bring on that album.
Farewell to Coventry band Yes Sunshine
Well, gutted is the word I used on hearing the demise of one of our finest local bands – namely Yes Sunshine.
Not many bands get in the NME and on BBC Radio 1, or play at Manchester City’s ground and the main stage at Godiva Festival.
These guys did all that, but have now called it a day, putting this announcement on their Facebook page.
The statement in full: “It’s with heavy hearts we announce that Yes Sunshine is no more.
“We feel that this is the right moment, whilst time is still on our side, to move on to pastures new.
“There has been no fall out, rift, or upset.
“We have surpassed all our own expectations, we have raised the bar as far as we could, we have knocked the door as loud as possible, doing so whilst flying the flag where ever we went.
“What we achieved is out there for all to see, and we are proud of what we have accomplished.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who has supported us.
“We are truly grateful to all who have been involved, and helped shape these last few years.
“Family, friends, fans, management, Mick, John and Derm, Pete Chambers, BBC Introducing, local music connections, local media, Mike Matrix, Blue Soap Music, Mint 400. We thank you all.
“There will be ONE last Yes Sunshine gig, to say goodbye properly. Details to follow.
“As a great man once said, ‘All things must pass’. Mike, Jord, Declan, Mark and Chris”.
I don’t know the whole story but I will say that these guys had so much going for them. They hadn't even released a proper album.
So many bands flog a dead horse, but Yes Sunshine had at least two good years before them.
They will be hugely missed. Their last gig will be on October 9.
Pete Chambers for Coventry Telegraph