MONEY - LEAF
It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while there steps out from the shadows a band you can’t help but fall for.
Manchester’s MONEY have proved once again that bedded in hardened, grey, industrial towns flower delicate poetic souls. The only similarities their musical offerings have with the landscape that provides their background is the steely grit that underlies the soaring elation of their new album Suicide Songs, released in January and their artistic manifesto of a debut, The Shadow of Heaven, from 2013.
MONEY returned to Leaf with tantalizing strings replacing heavier effects. This shift was also mirrored in Wilde-like front man Jamie Lee’s appearance. Gone was the head-to-toe black and severe bowl haircut, in its place and flowing fringe and navy jumper/scarf combination that Jeremy Irons (circa Brideshead Revisited) would definitely have approved of. Taking to the stage as if he’d missed his train, Lee nonchalantly picked up an acoustic guitar and began to reveal a renaissance for the band and perhaps for himself. After breaking a string not two minutes in he takes the time to talk to the crowd, openly sharing that he’s given up drinking and in situations such as these he wishes he hadn’t. Not only is this confession brave but it instantly makes Lee what most front men avoid being at all costs, human.
As he leads the band though the next few songs, including the shimmering I Am The Lord, reminiscent of early offerings by The Verve, and the wonderfully rich, Dylan Thomas-esque, You Look Like A Sad Painting On Both Sides, it becomes apparent that MONEY have built upon their melancholic foundations to create something not only uplifting but cathartic almost. As Lee’s vocal range soars and dips like an orchestra the audience are swept up in his storytelling. More an actor than a singer, you feel every struggle, every heartbreak, every joy spat out into the microphone. This new record appears on the surface an exercising of the debuts demons.
Not ignoring their triumphant first releases, half way through the set the band break into the gorgeous Bluebell Fields, placing a new fractured yet melodic spin on it. This is a group who don’t look back. No two performances the same. As the set crescendos with Night Came we fall in love with MONEY all over again, and like all great love stories sadly it comes to a close with A Cocaine Christmas And An Alchoholic’s New Year. As Lee modestly says thank you and wishes us a Merry Christmas in February I count my blessings that I was there to witness the reincarnation of a band that make songs more beautiful than art.