Review Archive

‘The Last Mad Surge of Youth’ - Henry Priestman “…getting better all the time”

(December 09, 2013)

From the Yachts, through It’s Immaterial, to The Christians, The last Mad Surge of Youthsinger-songwriter Henry Priestman has travelled a long road and come far. I’d take a guess that for him it feels like far. Most recently, that road has brought the man through the sarcasm and spleen of his first solo album ‘The Chronicles of Modern Life’ to his latest piercingly observant, jocularity-laden solo offering ‘The Last Mad Surge of Youth’, which I reckon is right up there with Priestman’s best work.

Opening with the deeply moving and personally searching ‘At The End of The Day’, which slides perfectly into the eternal reality of ‘True Believer’ complete with soaring choir, this album reflects not only a place that one man has reached but a place many will want to share. His laid-back yet purposeful vocal style and discerning writing edge build songs with the sentiment and recognition of ‘We Used To Be You’ and the practicalities of ‘Goodbye Common Sense’.

The title track ‘The Last Mad Surge of Youth’ is something of a reminiscence, a tinge of acceptance, and a level of resignation. It’s a song that all of us with a certain number of years and experiences under our belts can identify with, no question. The rich lyrics of ‘Huntin’ and Gatherin’ (ain’t what it used to be)’ hails from a similar root and offers some pertinent advice, while the acerbic humour of ‘A Pint of Bitter and Twisted’ is an accurate, wry look at life – and as true as they come.

I guess to write songs like these requires experience, wisdom and maturity before their lyrics ring true. Whether Henry Priestman would say he’s in possession of those attributes or not ‘The Last Mad Surge of Youth’ reveals a fair empathy with fortune’s slings and arrows, listen and then tell me I’m wrong – thought not.

Besides ‘himself’, the talented pedigree-pool on the album includes Katriona Gilmore, Lotte Mullan, Graham Gouldman, Paul Simpson and Probyn Gregory. ‘The Last Mad Surge of Youth’ will make its undeniable presence felt on 17th February 2014 through Proper Records. Find the album and Henry

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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