The People The Poets much anticipated debut album The Narrator is due for release on 4th November. Three years in the making, the band set about collating fan based stories (which in itself is quite a unique concept) for their first full length release. The album was produced (in separate sessions) by Gil Norton (Foo Fighters/Jimmy Eat World/Counting Crows), Peter Miles (We Are The Ocean/The King Blues/Canterbury) and Todd Campbell (Straight Lines/Evarose/Falling With Style).
Now I cannot begin to imagine the difficulty or effect the task of translating fan story submissions into songs has had on the band owing to the nature of some of the stories submitted. This isn’t some ‘run of the mill’ love song based release, The Narrator deals with some happy, sad and at times harrowing subjects but are narrated in a such a positive, beautiful way. These stories are real life, some subjects we don’t like to open up about and some we all know and should share. Again as I said these stories are real life.
Opening track People tackles body image and eating disorders. Reading the lyrics and story behind the song makes you realise how common this subject area is, the pressure from peers and the media on what we should look like. Choosing an opening track must be a tough choice but in this case they’ve got it spot on, musically the song builds with a blend of violins, drums, guitars before launching into rousing vocal harmonies. The song title is quite apt, this is after all an album about the “giving a voice to the People”.
Shallow Water Colour
Fans of the band in this and previous incarnations will be aware of their clever use of interludes, Shallow Water Colour for all of its 1 minute and 22 seconds is a beautiful piece of music in its own right. There are echoes of Counting Crows in the vocal delivery in this track and indeed glimpses throughout the album.
One of the early album demos Sing deals with the subject of abuse. Like the rest of the songs on this album this song is told and sung in such an uplifting way. The lyrics “if you’ve got the voice, then you’ve got the choice, so sing it out” say it all.
Molly Drove Me Away
Molly Drove Me Away tackles the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs and partying hard. The story behind this tune had me shocked, it’s hard hitting but is told again in just the right way.
Interlude One Day is cleverly done, linking two songs, one happy, one sad. A lyrical salute to previous band releases compliments this piece of music perfectly.
First heard on the Three Years in Limbo EP Take deals with a subject matter and decision that I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it was/is to make. Once again The People The Poet tackle such a sad story in such a positive way and have produced what is quite an uplifting sing along track at the same time.
Stabilisers (I Will Be), Not for Now, Nobody Else Like You and Unwinding Thread
Now it would be remiss of me not to talk about some of the other songs, they cover a wide range of experiences and emotions, through the joy of fatherhood Stabilisers (I Will Be) (the recently released single read our review here), to the grief and pain of losing a parent Not for Now and Nobody Else Like You the latter featuring a guest vocal from legendary British singer/songwriter Francis Dunnery). Unwinding Thread is an example of the versatility of vocalists Leon Stanford’s powerful voice.
Pink Ribbon and Lives of Your Lovers
Then there’s the emotive double tribute to two fans’ experiences of the fight against cancer in Pink Ribbon and Lives of Your Lovers. Both wonderful tunes, that I’m sure will resonate with many.
Being Human and Heart of a Lion
Being Human, the first album demo released and Heart of a Lion a personal favourite on this album, tackle further dark, infrequently spoken subject matters.
The Narrator is an album you can just listen to and enjoy finely crafted music or you can completely immerse yourself in the lyrics and stories. Having had the privilege to do just this I truly believe that what we have here is a collection of stories that are sympathetically told. I implore you that if you should pick up a copy of the album that you take the time out to read the lyrics and understand the stories, it’ll enhance your listening experience.
I know this has been a labour of love for The People The Poet and at times what’s felt like a weight on their collective shoulders but believe me the finished article is something to behold. This album is beautifully produced with layers of musical instruments and backing vocals used to add perfectly to the sound of the release.
Fans of the band will be blown away at how much this group has developed in their lyrics, vocals and sound from what was already a previously high base. Those who are just discovering The People The Poet well…lucky you.
I could write pages reviewing this release, as you can tell I’m a fan, I hope what I’ve written has intrigued you to look and listen come November 4th.
As the sayings go “good things come to those who wait” and “patience is a virtue”. Well ladies and gentlemen, oh how true this is…