The Pretty Things – Bare as Bone, Bright as Blood (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 49:01 minutes | 519 GM | Genre: Alternative, Indie
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Madfish
At the time of his death earlier this year, Phil May was hugely excited about the impending release of the first-ever, all-acoustic Pretty Things album, which had recently been completed.
The words below were written on the 5th May, just nine days before Phil died. We have left them unchanged as they remain relevant to the album and particularly to Phil and his connection to it. Even at this stage in his career, Phil was enthusiastically looking forward to performing these dark songs live and showcasing fresh on-stage approaches.
Unfortunately, the songs will never be heard live with Phil’s voice, but that doesn’t diminish the power of this remarkable record which stands as a touching tribute to one of the most significant artists of a rightly celebrated generation (and beyond).
THE PRETTY THINGS – BARE AS BONE, BRIGHT AS BLOOD – THE NEW ALBUM
On December 13th, 2018, following a sold-out show at London’s O2 Indigo, The Pretty Things retired from live, electric performances, after 55 years of touring and recording, due to the ill-health of lead singer, Phil May.
This was not something that the band, or their fans, wanted, but it was unavoidable. At the time, there was already a new, electric album well underway, but this was shelved as it was clear that the band would never be able to perform any of these recordings in a live setting.
At the time of the retirement, some sort of return in a stripped-down acoustic format was not entirely discounted, but – due to Phil May’s health issues and Dick Taylor’s lack of appetite for acoustic performance as a sole representation for the band’s work – nor was it expected.
However, during 2019 there was a significant sea change in attitude within the band and, early in the year, the band, together with manager and producer, Mark St. John, returned to the studio and took the first, tentative steps toward the making of a new album, this time in an entirely acoustic format. The album – now completed and entitled ‘Bare As Bone, Bright As Blood’ – is a genuine first for a band that has been knocking down the walls with their aggressive and memorable, electric live performances for more than 55 years.
This record has little in common with The Pretty Things past work, save for the fact that it is wholly unique and an absolute first. Arguably, this record is as ground-breaking as the band’s seminal psychedelic masterpiece ‘S. F. Sorrow’, which is acknowledged as the first Rock Opera. In some ways, due to the stripped-down nature of the album, the levels of inspiration, imagination, originality, and musicality on display are at an equivalent high. For the band’s two principal members this was an arduous and unfamiliar task, relying solely on their fundamental talents and undertaken without the comfort and benefit of the thundering band approach that had underpinned The Pretty Things’ work for so many years.
This is work stripped bare and reflects the frailties and insecurities of gathering age, ill health, painful failure & memorable success. It is a reflection on two long, long lives in art and music that have always been at the cutting edge.
‘Bare As Bone, Bright As Blood’ is the work of two old men who are acting their age, maybe for the first time ever. If their health and energy is depleted, their skill, insight and experience is not, with the result that they have made a remarkable, exciting, unexpected and thought-provoking record, that is, against all the odds, another singular “first” for an already ground-breaking band.
‘It was a very sad day when we said an enforced goodbye to the astounding electric band that was The Pretty Things in December 2018. It is a very happy day to see the band’s return as the old men they truly are, finally, comfortable to release the young men that, for such a long, long time, they were.” – Phil May
‘Bare as Bone, Bright as Blood’ is the remarkable and unexpected new album by The Pretty Things, who remain the tainted, dark Rock royalty they always were.
01. Can’t Be Satisfied (3:04)
02. Come into My Kitchen (4:17)
03. Ain’t No Grave (3:58)
04. Faultline (4:22)
05. Redemption Day (5:23)
06. The Devil Had a Hold of Me (4:16)
07. Bright as Blood (4:44)
08. Love in Vain (4:18)
09. Black Girl (2:37)
10. To Build a Wall (4:25)
11. Another World (3:57)
12. I’m Ready (3:44)