Well, The Moody Blues went In Search Of The Lost Chord, but Sheffield based Before Breakfast (cunningly on After Dinner Records!) is definitely in search of receptive and eclectic ears. I Could Be Asleep If It Weren’t For You is an album of rare butterfly beauty. Gina Walters’ voice conjures (early) Kate Bush, Kate Stables (of This Is The Kit fame!), and The Medieval Babes’ Katharine Blake – with ruby slipper cinema charm to burn. Lucy Revis plays a cello with a sacred touch and adds backing vocals, while pianist Debra Finch provides paintbrush colour to this art-folk tapestry.
The first song, ‘Inner Wisdom’, has melodic mystery that glances with wonderful backing vocals and piano at the pure and innocent passion of Kate Bush’s first album’s ballads like ‘The Man With A Child In His Eyes’.
Ah – but the next two songs open the sonic palette with big choruses. ‘Wreck’ just pulses with complex vocal open-throttled wonder. And that cello winds with sinuous deception throughout the tune. Then, ‘Brush My Hair (And Tell Me That You Love Me)’ just dances with sort of jazz cello driven Medieval joy. Yeah, it’s pretty odd and certainly is in search of those eclectic ears, yet the tune still conjures a melodic vocal labyrinth. Indeed, this is arty stuff that just happens to be a heck of a lot of pop-fused fun. And, just to be even more esoteric, there’s an ending vocal note that soars into Annie Haslam (of Renaissance fame!) atmospheric orbit. Wow! The same is true for the truly excellent ‘Sticky Sweet’, which, again, is clever pop music, with an “over the rainbow” yearning that picks up big steam that defies the weight of commercial big record industry gravity. It’s a nice carnival funhouse ride. Ditto for the full-blooded ‘I’m A Good Friend’ (with really cool added conversation) that piano dances with a weird pop vibe and rather intense rocky beauty. Again, Kate Bush comes to mind.
But ‘Stand’ sends blues into a distant orbit with the street savvy folk sound of the great Thea Gilmore, with that ever-constant cello and piano (with percussion propulsion and really spooky bass) cutting jazz grooves into folk vinyl.
Then the album finds a tranquil moment. ‘i’ is a brief piano and vocal soliloquy. It’s a nice eye in the midst of the album’s melodic storm. And ‘She’ is a waterfall cascade of vocal harmonies with even more of the piano paintbrush colour. This is followed by ‘Interlude’, which is an emotive cello and piano instrumental passage.
As my friend, Kilda Defnut, says, “I always enjoy a rather nice breeze on a really hot day”.
Then, sung from its own secret cobweb, the conceptually titled ‘ii’ punctuates its brief existence with ghostly breath.
And finally, ‘Journey’ lands any spacecraft with gentle embrace on any melodic planet. The tune swells with a completed appetite of a curtain closing final thought that, like any good novel, fulfills a necessary circle with a very human and perpetually heartfelt pulse.
Without a single lost chord to be found, I Could Be Asleep If It Weren’t For For You sings in folky soil, and yet it glances with a telescope touch into the always historical stars that forever and a day pulse with the jazz cello driven Medieval joy, a melodic vocal labyrinth, a nice carnival funhouse ride, and, of course, a ruby slipper melody – with cinema charm to burn.
Artists’ website: https://www.beforebreakfast.co.uk/
‘Brush My Hair (And Tell Me That You Love Me)’ – official video: