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Hey Negrita - Can't Walk Away

  by John Clarkson

published: 29 / 3 / 2006

Hey Negrita - Can't Walk Away
Label: Select Label
Format: CDS


Dark, but rewarding new single from London-based bluesy Americana outfit Hey Negrita, which precludes their forthcoming second album

Hey Negrita’s debut album ‘We Are Catfish’ told of singer and guitarist Felix Bechtolsheimer’s nearly decade long battle against heroin and other addictions, and of the junkie crowd he used to hang around with, many of whom, including television presenter Paula Yates, are now dead. ‘We are Catfish’ was recorded as a duo last year with Bechtolsheimer and his friend since childhood, the multi-talented Hugo “3 Horse” Heimann on all other instrumentation. With Heimann now based on his main instrument of the keyboards, the group has now expanded to also include the Reverend Neil Findlay (drums) and Hatless Gus (guitar, banjo, lap steel). Plastic skeleton and team mascot Walter, a dark but comic reminder of how lucky Bechtolsheimer is to be alive, is meanwhile is a ghoulish presence at their live shows. ‘The Buzz Above’, the London-based bluesy Americana outfit’s second album, which is due out in July, has a fuller sound. With such a rich source of background material to tap into, it not surprisingly, however, lyrically offers more of the same, but it takes though a slightly different focus than before, telling in parts of Bechtolsheimer’s torturous love affair with a fellow junkie. “Can’t Walk Away’, the title song of the first single from ‘The Buzz Above’, is a softly breezing country number. Heimann’s rolling thrusts of keyboards merge with Bechtolsheimer and Gus’ sparking twangs of guitar and Findlay’s chiming drums. “Under the thread of the deep blue sea/you’ll come floating back to me” sings a cleaned-up Bechtolshimer, who had to move to Florida for a year to shake off his drug habit, about to see his lover again. It soon, however, becomes apparent that beneath the upbeat framework of the song that something much darker is going on, and that old friends like chemicals are an unhealthy habit difficult to kick. “Let it go/Let it go” howls Bechtolsheimer as the song surges towards a climax and he finds himself tempted by junk again. “And there is nothing you can say/No, there’s nothing you can do/No, there is nothing you can say/I can’t walk away from you.” The second track ‘Lust and Bones’ is bleaker in temperament. Heimann’s gusts of keyboards have developed a brooding tone, and the rest of the band’s brushes of guitars and drums have a funereal quality. “Don’t smile like it is alright/And don’t you look at me that way/I’m sipping orange soda/You just slip away” sings Bechtolsheimer as an opening gambit, still against the odds clinging onto his sobriety. Yet, while he knows his girlfriend isn’t good for him in any way, he still can’t bear to leave her. “I feel I am afraid just to let you go” he wryly rasps at the song’s conclusion. Lastly there is ‘Losing You’, one of the songs from ‘We are Catfish’, given an ethereal space rock sound and new meaning in this context in a remix by Lemon Jelly. “Tell me that you love me/And tell me that you care/tell me that you are always there from me” Bechtolsheimer sings, hanging with final broken hope onto the wreckage of his relationship, but knowing in his heart that it is all over. ‘Can’t Walk Away’ unrolls like a three tier tragedy, beginning on a note of optimism, but then swiftly shifting to tell of failed reconciliation and then finally heart wrenching break-up. Bechtolsheimer’s stories of junkie addiction make harrowing and intense listening, but melodic, intelligent and honest, they and ‘Can’t Walk Away’ have multiple rewards.

Track Listing:-
1 Can't Walk Away
2 Lust And Bones
3 Losing You (Lemon Jelly Mix)

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Interview (2008)
Hey Negrita - Interview
At a show in Glasgow, John Clarkson speaks to acclaimed country/blues outfit Hey Negrita about their third album 'You Can Kick', line-up changes and renewed sense of energy and creativity
Interview (2006)
Interview (2005)

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Oran Mor, Glasgow, 17/6/2008
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After a difficult year in which two of its principal members quit, John Clarkson at Oran Mor in Glasgow watches the new line-up of previously melancholic London-based blues/country rockers Hey Negrita play a blistering set fused with a new found spirit of optimism
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