Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝙔𝙤𝙪’𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙣 𝙈𝙮 𝘽𝙡𝙤𝙤𝙙 - 𝙒𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙘𝙝𝙚𝙙 𝙋𝙞𝙣𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙙 𝙋𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙚𝙩𝙨
Charles speaks about the beauty of tragedy. This review might be disturbing to some readers.
Last week’s song review - props to Wilko Wilkes - has made me inclined to stay firmly grounded in the 90s - at least for now. It’s safer there; or so we thought… The year is 1993 - for me, musically speaking, the year the 90s began. Before that, was mainly just remnants of the 80s, or a somewhat ‘lost’ sound - unless you happened to be an acid head, in which case your sound was very much found. Two best friends got together to form a band and write songs together. It was more about the two of them than the band itself, although there were others in order to perform the songs live. They wanted to create meaning and concept within each song and eventually each album. Russ Graves and James Holm made a big old bunch of demo recordings and briefly gigged them around the country with the other members, under the name Wretched Pinhead Puppets. The two were like brothers. There was a connection. But they were different. They had different ways of thinking. Russ eventually slumped into a rather severe depression, and by the following year he had seemingly hit rock bottom. Tragedy struck, and everything changed forever.
Deep in the Arizona desert, a body had been found. It was scorched and tortured by week after week of the hot midday sun. It was not recognisable as anything but a human. There was however one identifiable feature. Purple painted fingernails. Russ Graves had walked into the desert with a gun, and taken his own life.
Not only was this the passing of a deeply troubled man, but also of the band. So many questions lie unanswered. James Holm - known as Jimmy - closed the lid on Wretched Pinhead Puppets and eventually started a career in jingle writing. This had been the story thus far until little more than a year ago. Another more widely known disaster struck - the pandemic. Jimmy’s work dried up and he had time to ponder and realise his past; his thoughts and feelings. As with most of us, the pandemic gave us time to do something we had never been able to do. A valid excuse. He blew away the dust and removed the lid of his unsettling and unfinished past. It was time to resurrect unfinished business. Jimmy knew that Russ’s box of demos had to see the light of day. People die, but music lives on. James Holm decided to re-record the demos properly. It must have been a truly difficult task with unfathomable thoughts and feelings. He was hearing his best friend once again.
You’re in My Blood is particularly moving when you realise that Russ is very much in Jimmy’s blood, despite the song being about a girl. With lines like “some day she’ll learn the secrets that I hide”, it truly makes one shudder. This feels and sounds very much like a song from the mid to late 90s. One of the sad things about this tragedy is how good his songs evidently were. It has more of an English feel to it, seemingly blending the two battling former members of the boy band, Take That - Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow. The writing is very reminiscent of Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams’ songwriter and producer). There is a darkness in the melody, despite it being sweet, almost giving it the vibe of Garbage - the band; this is anything but trash. There is warmth yet simultaneous coldness. Wretched Pinhead Puppets was born again.
It makes me feel queer to listen to the song, now knowing the background. But it also makes the song more evoking. Art should move one’s soul. This, however, shifts it entirely to the other side. It flips me upside down and urges me to help that wretched soul from all those years ago. But alas, I cannot. The past is the past. But Jimmy is trying his damnedest to make his past and present, his future. Everyone’s future. Music lives on, while bodies cease to move. I am truly affected by this heartbreaking story, and I urge you to listen to the soul and beating heart of Russ Graves. James Holm has made him live again. Russ would be proud, and maybe regretful. May he now rest in peace.
Here lies the beauty in tragedy.
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