Formerly “A Band of Buriers” and just now simply “Buriers” are a London Folk/Spoken Word Band. I normally don’t seek out Spoken Word albums so when I saw the description for this album I lost interest, but decided to listen to it anyway. I was really pleasantly surprised, the combination of the spoken lyrics and minimal folk instrumentation makes for an eerie and commanding sound. Singer/poet James P Honey delivers with passion and honesty, and I wish I had a list of the lyrics, I couldn’t find any in my research.
Introduction is an apt title, and sets up Slides By terrifically. I really like delivery on this song, Honey shifts his speed up and down rapidly, and the lyrics paint a very evocative picture. My favorite is the ending of the song:
“glass of burbon, poorly rolled smoke
then it’s time to go home
spend my whole night chasing your eyes
two flakes of burning coal
outside words climb towards the moon shine
as if mining for gold
in the cool dark, very big dark ‘neath which I walk home
slides on by, slides on by”
Woe is the perfect example of how efficiently and effectively Buriers uses strings to build their atmosphere. They set such a bleak and moving tone that pairs with Honey’s singing perfectly, and the production is never overbearing. With a small group of musicians they create a massive sound, and something mesmerizing like a stage play.
Cello Dub and Revue were heavy on the spoken word, and it was a bit like a vomiting of metaphors, which is why I’m not fond of the genre. I much prefer the songs like F.Breavman that feel like a story is being told, an idea conveyed both in the lyrics and the instrumentation, rather than just a stream of consciousness. I really think that’s just personal preference, I know some people will feel quite the opposite.
Surprisingly, a bit of humor is injected in the album with I & All My Friends. Honey plays with his words to make a bittersweet image of age and friendship. “When I and all my friends grow older we’ll hold each other close until we choke from all the joy”. Out of nowhere comes a bass drum that was unheard of on the album so far that always startles me, and a much more serious chorus is brought in with the line “There’s something broken in those moments”. Oh My One is much more in the typical Folk vein, and I love it. I feel it’s the most romantic song, with lines like :”Love’s a game fought with white flags and white daggers”. It’s sad and moving, and much like the rest of the album, bears repeating. This is thick with lyrical content that needs to be digested slowly, and I’m excited to listen to this again in the future.