No Way Out But Through
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
Reissue Track Listing
No Way Out But Through
Two Cautionary Tales
It’s Only Love
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.