30 Day Song Challenge, Day 22

Day 22: A Song You Listen to When You Are Sad

Crippled Black Phoenix make very melancholic music, and such songs provide solace for the weary-hearted. There is something quite beautiful about a kind of sad resilience. It’s probably why the sadder songs resonate more. That said, Crippled Black Phoenix sound sadder than most. They are a very English sounding band, shaped by generations of bad weather and that all-too common post-industrial malaise. The title of the album this pick comes from is appropriate; A Love of Shared Disasters.

Anyway that album’s final track is a two parter entitled Sharks & Storms/Blizzard of Horned Cats. Sharks & Storms is lovely CBP song featuring trademark quietly mumbling vocals by the great Joe Volk (who seems fairly charming in a live setting). It’s sad and reflective and yearning. Lots of piano and picked acoustic guitar and gently brushed cymbals. The latter half, Blizzard of Horned Cats, is an altogether louder affair, an epic post-rock crescendo featuring layer upon layer of haunting strings and guitar and horns and keys and drums and voice and building and building and building until it is consumed in a wash of pure noise and then is suddenly and poignantly cut silent.

To bring this back to the point of today’s entry, when I am a sad, this track and others like it act as a validation of that sadness, but then through force of will, the sadness burns away to reveal the gleaming shard of hope at its core. To quote Robert Fripp, who is in no way related to this band, just because,

“In desperate times, a reasonable person might despair; but hope is unreasonable, and love is greater even than this.”

This track is a lamentation, but also offers catharsis and redemption. It is also perhaps one of the best endings to an album I have ever heard. You guys should go listen to more Crippled Black Phoenix right now.

P.S. Justin Greaves will probably be chuffed I managed not to bring up Mogwai. Oh shit…

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