12 Plays of Christmas – David Thomas Broughton

As we draw to a close we leave behind the buzz of the city and drift into the dark and dreamy landscape of Yorkshire’s finest folk eccentric. The Crippling Lack EPs are 90 minutes of sparse, crackling beauty. A collection of epic folk reflections on humanity spun on a web of organic samples, bass loops, fidgety acoustic guitar and meandering vocal. Veins of darkness and humour and love run through these tracks like seams of gold hidden beneath the earth, occasional  glimpses rising and falling with the undulations of the land.

Silent Arrow, with rickety guitar and mournful harmonica, recalls Neil Young during his 70’s hey day. It shares his slow, deliberate reflection and feels like a long walk in the countryside. The beauty is in being there, in feeling the cool air fill your lungs, in the sense of space between the moments:

The beginning of Dots is almost broken, a foal taking it’s first hesitant, wayward steps before finding it’s balance. A marching drum beat begins to underpin this new found freedom, an understated resilience rising up to eat away the doubt:

Concrete Statement ponders how we can ever trust that which we or others say. It is the search for grains of truth amongst the dirt and rubble of everyday conversation. It is a night where you drink too much and cannot sleep, the alcohol chafing against your dreams, refusing to let  go until a resolution is found:

Spend a long time waiting for some hard-boiled words
Some concrete statement
Such jellied, opaque promises will be nothing come the sun
Your tatty cloth remarks are never sewn into anything that I can wear

Gulf is a song about regret, of how easy it is to open gaps with people, gaps into which trust, previously so sturdy and sure, collapses. How on both sides a moment can change everything. It is filled with sadness and is one of the most beautiful songs of the last year:

Plunge of the Dagger, featuring London-based artist Luke Drozd, is a series of daily vignettes describing someone seemingly contemplating suicide, though never quite getting there. It is a series of daydreams that are filled with tragedy and pathos and dark humour. That understands that comedy is never far from tragedy. Turn the page and one becomes the other. They spin across the ballroom floor, elegant and inseparable. It hates and loves life:

 

I have decided to drink myself death

I’ve calculated how much alcohol is needed in order for my organs to pickle

And my frame to collapse into a pool of its own detritus

However, I do not drink so I have chosen to use the equivalent in lemonade, homemade and cloudy

My god, it’s delicious

Crippling Lack is an album to wallow in ,to cast aside the world to. A gentle and dark lullaby that takes you away to somewhere sad and and beautiful and funny and human. It is a deep and satisfying record, like supping hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day or crawling into your bed after a seeming eternity, the freshly washed linen crisp against your naked skin. It is the brief, accidental brushing of skin against skin sending sparks rushing up your arms and across your chest, your heart-rate rising with the sheer, seductive simplicity of it all.

You can buy The Crippling Lack EP here.

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