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Butterfly Child - Futures

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 23 / 12 / 2015



Butterfly Child - Futures
Label: Dell’Orso Records
Format: CD

intro

First-rate comeback album from 90's dream-pop band Butterfly Child, which fronted by the Irish-born but LA-based Joe Cassidy, have taken classic 60's influences and then given them a contemporary edge


Joe Cassidy, the main man behind recordings by Butterfly Child, had, it appeared, been quiet musically over the last couple of years. After three full-length albums and a bunch of EPs, all of which saw the light of day in the 1990s, little was heard from Cassidy until the ‘No Longer Living In Your Shadow’ single was issued in 2012. Those who heard the lush dream-pop of that single with Cassidy’s yearning vocals and captivating guitar lines which were floating above a wash of sound that perfectly captured the longing in Cassidy’s vocals were left with the hope that maybe there was more to come, hopefully soon. It’s taken three years but we’re finally rewarded with a whole album's worth of the same. For those who missed out on that extraordinary single which, at nearly eight minutes long, never for a second outstayed its welcome and, like the majority of ‘Futures’ is like taking a walk around the inside of Brian Wilson’s head around ’66 or ’67 while he was dreaming up his next move, this album is going to rank up there as one of the best of 2015. Why ‘Futures’ conjures up images of Wilson is difficult to explain but if, when you first heard ‘Never Understand’ by Jesus and Mary Chain, it was the music of he Beach Boys that you heard underpinning those jet engines, then although the music Cassidy creates is a million miles away from the Reid brothers' sound and he expands on the beauty in Wilson’s musical vision rather than burying it, the same feeling will hit you. It’s a strange feeling; another of Wilson’s contemporaries also comes to mind when listening to ‘Futures’, despite the album sounding totally of this moment what can only be described as a wall of sound underlines most of this album, not a impenetrable Spector wall of sound but a modern, expansive collage of sounds. ‘Sheets of Whitewashed Sun’, which makes its appearance at the halfway mark, lives up to its title perfectly. It’s an (almost) instrumental like those that Wilson used to pop into his albums and which would be less effective if they were given lyrics. The music says it all, and any addition would distract from the beauty in the music. In fairness it only takes a cursory listen to the second single pulled from the album, ‘Lost in These Machines’ to understand that for all the greats from the golden era of music that can be heard in Cassidy’s music (and there’s more to come) he does have that rare talent which is not to just replicate what has gone before but to shape it into something contemporary and fresh. The dream-like qualities that inform not just ‘Lost in These Machines’ but the rest of the album too are apparent from the opening song, ‘Blind Me So I May See’, Cassidy’s lysergic but clear vocal style complimenting the music perfectly. Belfast born but now based in LA, the listener can’t help but assume that Cassidy’s surroundings have helped shaped his present sound. As songs such as ‘Playfair Steps’ and ‘Our Delays’, unfold they prove to be irresistible. Cassidy has a way with melodies, and the guitar sound he’s captured on many of the tracks on ‘Futures’ is addictive and has become just as much a trademark of his unique sound as that solid musical backing that informs all of the tracks on ‘Futures’. That’s not to say that ‘Futures’ just has variations on one song spread through its running time of almost one hour, ‘Night Music’ is funereal-paced, a piano led soundscape with Cassidy’s longing vocals once again brilliantly arranged and produced for maximum effect. ‘Holding On’ has, not surprisingly, been chosen as the latest single to promote ‘Futures’. The song was apparently inspired by the music Jimmy Webb produced with Glen Campbell and this shines through. By now it’s obvious that Cassidy has used sounds from the past to shape his musical vision but with ‘Holding On’ he goes just that extra mile. Roping in Webb’s sons Christiaan, James and Justin on backing vocals was not only an inspired move but also one that also raises a smile; not stopping there Cassidy also acquired the services of Cal Campbell, Glen’s son, on the track too. And yes, that guitar sound which you would expect from such a pedigree is there and the song is simply gorgeous. It’s worth the price of admission alone. ‘Beauty #2’ closes the album, clocking in at just over two minutes, the string-laden ballad is yet another thing of, well, beauty and leaves the listener in little doubt that Cassidy has created a work that will never date and, in time, might just prove to have a place up there with those classics from which he’s taken a little inspiration.



Track Listing:-
1 Blind Me so I May See
2 Still Learning to Crawl
3 Playfair Steps
4 Our Delays
5 No Longer Living in Your Shadow
6 Sheets of Whitewashed Sun
7 A Shot in the Dark
8 Night Music
9 Holding On
10 The Only Sound
11 Futures
12 Lost in These Machines
13 Beauty #2


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/butterflychildmusic/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_Child



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interviews


Interview (2016)
Butterfly Child - Interview
Irish dream pop maverick Butterfly Child, AKA Joe Cassidy, has released his first album in seventeen years. He speaks to Malcolm Carter about his extended hiatus, and the other projects that kept him busy over the preceding years

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Onomatopoeia (2018)
Butterfly Child - Onomatopoeia
In our Re:View section, in which our writers look back on albums from the past, Steve Kinrade reflects on 'Onomatopoeia', the debut album of Butterfly Child, the art rock project of Irish singer-songwriter Joe Cassidy.


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