I could be the new Swedish Chef, for those that remember The Muppet Show, offering you the finest haute cuisine and all from Sweden tonight. They might be preparing for World War 3 over there but please don’t conscript the musicians! Where would I be without them?
Helena Montgomery – Going Home (single)
Getting things started tonight is Helena Montgomery, who appears in NMC both as a solo performer and within the band Bulletproof Poets, who were here only last week.
She’s a thoughtful, philosophical type who sings from the heart and in ‘Going Home’ she (in her own words) “flirts with the 80s synth era” one that she has previously revealed she grew up in, devoted to bands and artists such as Depeche Mode, Howard Jones and The Cure.
While there is a synth pop element to it I wouldn’t classify it that way and also because the 80s were an era for asking questions about anything and everything, especially about luurve, often without any expectation of getting an answer (‘Don’t you forget about me’; ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’; ‘I want to know what love is’; ‘What is love anyway’; ‘What’s love got to do with it’. You get the idea.
For my money ‘Going Home’ is more 1960s, with its declarative statement that’s as blunt as Chris Rea’s in ‘Driving home for Christmas.’ Whether the journey is to a literal or figurative place where “Love is the Patron Saint” it is the positive desire to make it that really counts; one that was commonplace in the songs of that decade.
Incidentally, the melody is simply so catchy you won’t be able to forget it even if you want to.
‘Going Home’ is out now.
Find her on:
Joe Carnwath – Color me Blue (Single)
The phrase ‘tempus fugit’ is brought sharply into focus by the realisation that Joe Carnwath hasn’t figured in these pages for well over a year now.
His latest single, ‘Color me Blue’ carries an American spelling because I believe he is American born, although raised in the UK and now living in Uppsala in Sweden. It is an early release from his album ‘The Man that I Am’ which arrives on February 23rd.
Joe is a peddler of songs that are redolent of those English roots and a sense of Englishness pervades them accordingly. As the Press Release said, they might be found accompanying a Hugh Grant film.
His might be any one of the melodic soft rock northern England 1960s bands, the likes of Herman’s Hermits, The Hollies or The Searchers, projected into the 2020s but not violently, so with the addition of 1980/90s style jangly guitars added into the mix and even the slightest hint of psych.
It’s a sound difficult to pigeonhole precisely but that makes it all the more interesting and alluring.
Joe Carnwath will be playing a home town gig in Uppsala on 28th February at Katakin Jazzbar where he first began his Swedish musical journey.
Find him on:
We Ghosts – Almost Alone (single)
The final one tonight is the latest single from Anglo/Swedish duo We Ghosts, ‘Almost Alone’ which concerns loneliness and isolation, and how even the smallest human connection, a friendly smile, a nod of recognition, or a short conversation can give you a sense of hope that you do belong.
It is still a pertinent issue. I was reading how many people who were left isolated by Covid remain so today; a hidden mental health problem ignored by government just like it ignored the plight of the many hundreds of sub-postmasters who were unfairly maligned for having ‘robbed’ the Post Office here in the UK when in reality it was dodgy software causing the problem.
At least at one time the lonely could always go to the local sub-Post Office for a chat. No-one in their right mind would take that job on these days.
Another aspect to consider and I thank the comedian Alexei Sayle for pointing this out in one of his brilliant short stories, is how the old ‘disappear’ from society. Not part of the millennial or ‘Gen Z’ scene and not being an object of desire, they might as well not be there at all. They are invisible.
But I digress. As usual We Ghosts hit the nail on the head, and hard, with lines like,
“How funny we should meet upon this so suburban street
You never seem to notice me before.
And as you spoke to me, I realized, to my surprise,
it was something I’d been longing for…”
The song starts with 10 seconds of what sounds like a downpour outside a house that one of the subjects is ‘trapped in’, unable to venture outside. There are lots of twitching curtains, which usually hint at neighbourly nosiness, but of course it can equally be applied to those who do no more than wish to attract some company but are nervous of making that known publicly.
The song is unable to reach a conclusion about its subject. The title can be taken two ways – I’ve run out of friends or I just found one and that saved me.
Once again We Ghosts capture the moment perfectly courtesy of the emotion generated by Jenny Woodall in unison with the sympathetically played guitar of John Woodall.
Later this year, We Ghost’s music will be heard in two different Swedish film productions.
Find them on: