The history of any country is bathed in blood. See any revolutionary war, invasion (and domination) from outside forces and the lineage of kings (and the usual cloak and dagger shenanigans going behind close doors).
When you have a tiny country with all these (and more) things in their past, you’re bound to find a couple of ghosts (and skeletons too. Well armed and shit). This is England, the haunted countryside. Welcome to the haunted world of The Miserable Rich‘s Miss you in the days.
Straight out of the bat: if the band was aiming to go for a very Gothic atmosphere without resorting to synths or heavy bass work, yeah, they hit it right on target. It’s oozing all kinds of feelings and the crisp sounds (great mixing, by the way) are delivered gently to your ear canals. Mervyn Peake would be proud.
‘Laid up in lavender’ has those eerie ghosts sounds (theremin? Violin shenanigans? Pipes from Ghostwatch?) and pretty much signals what is coming up: intricate folk (‘Tramps’), a few moments of rock (‘Under glass’) and complex compositions that deserve to be played again and again (the utterly perfect ‘True Love’).
‘Honesty’ is an early cut in the tracklist that sheds away from any folk misgivings you might have. Sure, it’s all acoustics and sure, it’s a bit of strummy stuff, but it goes to several places (kinda like prog) and the build up is very silent and smouldering until it turns into a fire. Love the vocals on this one and the end really brought a tear. Lyrically, it seems to be related to the whole theme of being possessed, not only by creatures from the Outer Planes (yes, I played Dungeons & Dragons), but more on a sentimental way.
That’s the beauty of this album: the recurring theme might be on the surface the creepiness of places in decay and with a few ghosts around, but also about the stuff that haunts you and stays with you forever. ‘Ringing the changes’ made me think of a missed opportunity in a school dance ages ago. The circumstances of what happened after to said person I didn’t dance with are a little heartbreaking but let’s not delve into the past and let’s say this song made me remember that afternoon a little more fondly than I used to. The unnerving sound at the end before the heartfelt ending did bring a few tears. “Just like dreams” indeed. This song is magic.
Let’s move on. Too much navelgazing and sharing.
‘China shop of dreams’ feels like something out of Stephen Sondheim‘s wonderful box of dissonance. A vicarious waltz of viciousness in an empty house (Victorian, natch!), drenched in feelings of dread. ‘Under glass’ has impeccable violin work, it even feels like a prog rock solo. It’s simply mesmerising and beautiful, the rockiest you’ll get to hear this band. Until you get to ‘True Love’. The album does close in a very solemn, ominous piece called ‘In the attic’. You can feel the sorrow in the voice and the ambient is as striking as those landscape pieces that John Constable used to paint deftly.
Miss you in the days is a little gem of chamber pop with a good haunting atmosphere (all about that mournful violin – love it). It’s a perfect album for Autumn and the release date couldn’t be any better. It would be a disservice to The Miserable Rich to say you should focus in the astounding violin work (which is really good) as everyone is doing a great effort to create (and maintain) said haunting atmosphere. Acoustic but loud.