Unpopular Review – She’s A Vampire – VIEW

I Love ‘She’s A Vampire’ – Will Sergeant (Echo & the Bunnymen)

She’s A Vampire – E.P – By Paul Simpson

Think Of England – The Elegantly Decayed World Of Jonathan Beckett

I’m a sucker for musical beauty, lyrical sadness and outsiderism, and they don’t come more beautifully outsider than Jonathan Beckett who first came to my attention a several months ago when a friend e-mailed me to inform me that my band – The Wild Swans had been name checked on an epic work of his entitled ‘1989’ – a list song charting Jonathan’s end of the decade despair and the musical sanctuary into which he retreated during his annus horribilis. Jonathan has clearly battled some major demons in his time and as a result his voice, music and lyrics are imbued with a beautifully balanced ratio of bitter to sweet.

For me, stumbling upon Jonathan’s music is a bit like chancing upon the ivy-covered remains of an architecturally significant stately home while out walking in the woods; a little decayed, ever so slightly scary perhaps, but beneath the ivy lie elegant mullioned windows, intricately carved stone bestiary and secret doors in the oak paneling.

‘1989’ gave me the taste but it was another song of Jonathan’s that really intoxicated me and persuaded the Occultation Recording label to add Jonathan to its roster of artists. ‘She’s A Vampire’ is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Sparse, elegant and deeply, deeply vulnerable, if this antiqued jewel isn’t snapped up for the opening or closing credits theme to a Twilight type movie or a supernaturally themed TV series in the next 12 months then I’m a Norwegian trawlerman.

If you need a reference point for Jonathan’s world think of that small, intrepid group of eccentric British singer-songwriters; Robyn Hitchcock, Martin Newel, ‘Fried’ era Julian Cope, Paul Roland and the darker side of Jarvis Cocker. There’s a line of Jonathan’s in ‘Between Two Worlds’ – the third song on his download E.P. that really resonates with the low-profile underachiever in me.

‘I was crowned the king of nothing much a long, long time ago’

I know what its like to be a nearly man, to be sidelined and un-credited, always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Well, Jonathan’s hour is come and quality will out.

Paul Simpson – July 2010