A new band – they only released their debut single in February and this is their third – N. P. York & the Fools are keen to tell us that they can master both the grandiose and the minimalist.
And judging from this song that’s no mean claim, with a bit of each added for good measure.
N.P. York, if that is his real name, it doesn’t sound particularly Danish but he could be from anywhere I suppose, has a deeper, grizzlier voice than John Grant, and with a similar degree of impact, and it dominates the opening, unassuming ballad part of ‘Pain and the Ever After’, over simple piano chords.
That ballad returns to see the song about but not before the intervention of a bombastic instrumental middle section where synthesisers, guitar and a massed choral battle it out for supremacy in what is a pretty powerful piece.
He says that “the storytelling gene lies in my hometown in Vendsyssel (in the northernmost part of Denmark), and I have always wanted to show off that part of songwriting.”
The story in this instance is of waking up to the thought/realisation/vain hope that buying early flowers at a petrol station (“the gas station rose” as he calls it) could save a relationship; one that evidently went disastrously wrong the night before.
It’s like a Fiona Apple storyline with a twist and some of her appropriate lines popped into my mind:
“The early cars/already are/drawing deep breaths past my door// And last night’s phrases/sick with lack of basis/are writhing on my floor.”
But he ultimately comes to the conclusion, as Apple could have told him, that everything is about love and pain in the ever after; there is no avoiding the consequence of the first on the second.
I like it. It’s moody and magnificent where it has to be.
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