No Way Out But Through

1994

The front cover of No Way Out But Through which is a photograph taken in 1900 by Eugène Atget of a waiter looking out through the window of a closed door leading to a cafe at 25, Rue des Blancs Manteaux.I was really surprised listening to these songs again, as, until now, with the benefit of experience and hindsight, I hadn’t realised just how much of an autobiographical snapshot they are.

Immortality references ‘all five faces I’ve loved’ and the thirteen songs, with the possible exception of Oscar, return to the same very personal, albeit universal, lyrical themes of failure, loss and regret. Even in Cynara, where I was ‘borrowing’, it’s clear that the choice was deliberate:

‘I am desolate and sick of an old passion’.

I had been living in Prague for a year, which may have provided some perspective on a series of failed relationships but had certainly got me hooked on strong Eastern European cigarettes, to which I attribute the standard of my vocal performance… A couple of the lyrics were written there but the majority of the songs came from Rob’s ideas to which I added words and a melody back in Horsham.

Mark Craine provided some percussion and I particularly remember recording Lovers Lane and The End of Another Year in his garage and the duelling guitar solos of the latter back at Rob’s place, as well as the (positive) shock of hearing Rob’s arrangement of Two Cautionary Tales after recording the vocals to an acoustic guitar.

As well as uniquely featuring some original artwork for the cover (from the unattributed Matthew Williams), for me this is a notable release because it features my favourite of all VOTR songs, Taste, which I can still vividly recall hearing for the first time on a cassette from home in a bedroom in Prague at the end of a long, cold Winter.

Richard Knowles October 2014

As a bonus for purchasers of this mixed bag of curates’ eggs an edited version of The End Of Another Year is included with the download providing the option to avoid the seemingly endless guitar duelling of the original.

When discussing who would do roughly what during the solo section I was surprised to discover that Richard had been playing and writing music for over a decade without ever having known any musical scales. I on the other hand very nearly knew two.

Robert Boole January 2015

Download Booklet

Reissue Track Listing

No Way Out But Through
Lovers Lane
Bridge Sister
London’s Burning
Cynara
Café Culture
Immortality
Two Cautionary Tales
It’s Only Love
Taste
Oscar
Arundel
The End Of Another Year

All the songs were written and
performed by Richard & Rob
with the help of Mark Craine
on drums and percussion

Cynara is based on the poem
Non Sum Qualis eram
Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae
by Ernest Dowson

The cover photograph, ‘Café, 25 Rue des Blancs Manteaux’ by Eugène Atget is courtesy of the Getty Trust Open Content Program.