Caesar Spencer’s Get Out Into Yourself is an album whose press release says, “with a loose narrative that follows a protagonist journeying through different cultural landscapes, it unspools a tale laced with existential questions and the quest to find yourself in an ever-shifting world”.
Now, for the three or so hardy readers who after all of that are still interested, and of course, my nonagenarian Aunt Florence, affectionally known as “Auntie Fum” to the family, and simply “Fummy” to her few friends who are still (as my friend, Kilda Defnut is wont to say), “on this side of the looking glass”, let’s just say this is (quite brilliant) dramatic music that engulfs a wide circumference that includes Scott Walker, Morrissey, Jim Morrison, Serge Gainsbourg, perhaps, David Bowie, and oddly enough, Julian Cope (he of psych sainthood and Teardrop Explodes fame!).
And, just so you know, my before-mentioned dear “Auntie Fum” is eternally grateful for nursing home assistant Bennie who reads all of “her favorite nephew’s really good who done it stories” (her words, not mine!) whenever a new review by yours truly pops up on the internet.
Well, thank you, Bennie! But I don’t know, for all the “existential questions and quest” stuff, GOIY is a great spin on any vinyl turntable that croons with Smiths’ styled post-punk and warbles wonderfully (with a nice back-beat!) like my backyard bird feeder conversations. This album, like everything else, just wants to give some sort of thanks to the always rather decent energy of the universe.
The first instrumental tune, ‘Hail Caesar’, is rough wave surfer rock. It definitely is disqualified from anyone’s weekly Folk One Hundred List.
But thankfully, Get Out Into Yourself is redeemed with other songs. ‘Get Outside The Pigs’, (nice title, that!), is an acoustically strummed (with eerie echo and strings!) big earnest song that certainly recalls the impassioned vocals of The Smith’s Morrissey. Caesar’s vocals are a melodic delight. And lapping waves introduce ‘Isn’t That What Jimi Said’, which is quite delicious British pop, like a nice John Lennon Beatles tune, with odd voices and a big organ solo. Nice. Then, ‘When I Whisper In Your Ear’ revives the French (sort of) cabaret sound of Serge Gainsbourg with the fiery duel voiced passion (Thank you, Mareva Galanter!) while more strings send a Valentine message with sweet thorns.
And, speaking of the guy “who done it”, Caesar Spencer is an English singer-songwriter who was born in Peru, and while he is also a bit Swedish, has now found a home in France to whom, this album is a “love letter”. So, this leaves pop music fingerprints (to quote Beatle Paul) “Here, There And Everywhere”. Perhaps my beloved “Auntie Fum” is right: Everything in the world, even a music review, is always about psychological insight into a melodic mystery (my words, not hers!).
That said, there’s more Baroque rock big cinema screen music that sells tickets to folks who always love a strummed and quite euphoric glimpse at folk pop perfection and believe The Smith’s accusation that “Manchester” still has “so much to answer for”. And ‘Jane Loves The Highway’ certainly pops with post punk drama that recalls the pulse of (the band with my all-time favorite name!) Sad Lovers & Giants. This is infectious stuff! Then ‘Requiem’ swirls into an electric eddy, and yeah, touches the mystical brilliance of the weird mythic goodness of Julian Cope. Indeed, it’s always nice to think “There’s an angel passing over you”. But ‘Cult Of Personality’ is simple and piano graced confessional stuff, with a big soulful “goodness of your heart” chorus. This music walks a circus tightrope line, (using the appropriate French) sans filet.
And then there’s the big thud of ‘Broken By The Song’, which oozes with wind-swept Egyptian desert guitar accusation that, quite frankly (with organ fervor!) touches an ancient art, that has very little to do with pop music. Indeed, there’s more fingerprints left at the scene with the dark passion of an intense art rock workout, with a surreal collage of dark psych passion. It’s wonderfully intense, with a sharpened dart point board strike.
‘Waiting For Sorrow’ returns to the Morrissey and The Smiths’ big choral dramatic cool pop vibe, with a few odd voices thrown into the mix.
Oh – ‘Get Out Into Yourself’ (yeah the oxymoronic title track!) simply rocks with a cosmic swagger, that again, disqualifies the tune from the weekly Folk One Hundred List. But with more deeply intoned vocals, it paves a dimly lit runway into the dark psych insight of the pretty cool haze of an organ-drenched fuzzy guitar labyrinth, with the lyrical hope that “You will find a way”.
And finally, ‘Knew That One Day’ is a slow dance step which sings with the infinity of forever love and announces a whole lotta hope, with the words, “knew we would make our way home again”, while being framed with big celestial backing vocals. It’s a perfect ending to, as my Auntie Fum said, “a really good who done it story’, committed in France, with the able assistance of many, including Gilles Tandy, Jean Felzine, Jo Wedin, and Jacqueline Taieb, and then sharply perpetrated with those always dangerous weapons of “existential questions” in their never-ending really nice rock ‘n’ roll “quest to find yourself in an ever-shifting world”.
Artist’s website: https://www.caesarspencer.com/
‘Waiting For Sorrow’ – official video: