# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Quiet Loner - Greedy Magicians

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 13 / 9 / 2012

Quiet Loner - Greedy Magicians
Label: Little Red Rabbit Records
Format: CD


Fiery and acerbic third album from Quiet Loner, the project of Manchester-based musician Quiet Loner, which, recorded live in a Salford church, reflects with anger, humour and sadness on the present political state of Britain

Where the recession and subsequent injustices of the 1980s provoked a regular stream of political pop music, its been noticeable how few bands seem to have even noticed the recession, and how even fewer have had anything meaningful to say about it. Some commentators have suggested that it simply shows how indie music has become a comfortable, middle-class pursuit (although that doesn’t explain why so little rap music engages with politics). Writing in ‘The Guardian’ last year, ‘NME’ editor Krissi Murrison suggested that even the most articulate bands simply feel uncomfortable dividing their audience along political lines. I’d suggest that some of them may have realised that – with some notable exceptions – the most nakedly political music from the 1980s hasn’t stood the test of time. Still it’s sad that so few songwriters feel able to engage with the effect of an unprecedented economic meltdown on the lives of ordinary people. Anyone who agrees should go out and buy the excellent new album from Matt Hill (for he is the Quiet Loner), which tackles the recession and the two years of Coalition Government head-on. With a mix of humour, sadness and anger, he gets the tone spot-on. As a disclaimer, I should note that I essentially share Matt Hill’s politics, and I certainly like this album more because of that. If you plan to vote Conservative or Liberal Democrat again come the next General Election, I don’t think you’ll enjoy this as much. But you don’t need to be a political anorak to enjoy these songs. They are warm and memorable, performed with fire and no little skill. They are often very funny, too. There are some direct attacks on the present Government (not least the acerbic ‘The Captain’s Diseased’, which imagines David Cameron as an incompetent sea captain and the ‘Greedy Magicians’ that give the album its title), but the album is broader in scope than just an anti-Conservative polemic. One of the most powerful tracks is ‘The Ghost of Oswald Mosley’, which reflects sadly on the rise of fascism in what had once been proud mining communities. This is one of the best examples of Hill placing his modern social observations within the language and themes of the last Great Depression. Hill’s two previous albums have been tagged as Brit-Americana (and have enjoyed glowing reviews from the UK’s biggest champion of alt-country, ‘Uncut’ magazine, as a result), but this album sees him change tack slightly, with his music evoking an authentic spirit of English folk music. They are all story songs, with clear lyrics to which the audience should be able to nod and hopefully sing along on their first listen. In keeping with that tradition of public meetings, ‘Greedy Magicians’ was recorded in front of an audience at a 17th century church in Salford, backed by members of Samson & Delilah and Last Harbour. It’s not a live album, as such, because all of the songs were written especially for this album and the between-song chatter has been edited out. Hill said that he approached it as if it was a recording session, rather than as if it was a concert. The applause at the end of each song, however, remains, and the acoustics of the live performance give a very different ambiance to the recordings. Hill has said himself that he doesn’t think the recession has made people more receptive to protest music, and that “the people prepared to listen to a message song are roughly the same people that are always prepared to listen”. Instead, he believes that the more interesting responses to the recession have come from visual artists, and that he wanted to do something musical to “contribute to the collective”. That said, if you ask him, Hill will also give a long list of contemporary political songwriters who inspired the songs on this album. The pampered class of household name musicians have nothing to say about the poorest parts of society being forced to give up much of the little they have in order to keep a global financial system they’ll never be allowed to access. But, on ‘Greedy Magicians’, a Quiet Loner shows that you can turn feelings of anger and despair into warm and uplifting music. The album ends with my favourite track, ‘Don’t Despair’, where Hill reminds us that as long as we keep our humanity, corrupt bankers and weak politicians can never destroy society. A moving end to a superb album.

Track Listing:-
1 Days of surveillance
2 Kneel and comply
3 Discontented winter
4 The ghost of Oswald Mosley
5 The captain's diseased
6 Greedy magicians
7 A matter of time
8 Unmarked grave
9 Between the wars
10 We will not forget
11 Don't despair

Band Links:-

Label Links:-

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit


Interview (2012)
Quiet Loner - Interview
Quiet Loner is the project of much acclaimed Manchester-based singer-songwriter, Matt Hill. Ben Howarth talks to him about his politically angry third album 'Greedy Magicians', which was recorded live in a church in Salford



Secret Ruler Of The World (2004)
"Delightful"mellow country rock on debut album by new Manchester based group, Quiet Loner

most viewed articles

most viewed reviews

related articles

Matt Hill: Interview (2020
Matt Hill - Interview
After releasing several albums as Quiet Loner, Northern English singer=songwriter Matt Hill speaks to Ben Howarth about his latest album, the folk-influenced 'Savage Pilgrims', which is also his debut LP under his own name.

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors