Photo: Sarah Iannone
August Wells - She Was A Question
- Review by Noël Duplaa
Info: August Wells' cracking new single "She Was a Question"is the lead in to their sophomore album, "Madness is the Mercy", which was released last Friday on Cork’s FIFA Records. With a string of upcoming dates around the UK and Ireland, the project has incredible pedigree, led by ex-Rollerskate Skinny frontman, Ken Griffin, accompanied by New York pianist, John Rauchenberger.
Building from a twisted carnival atmosphere, the sparsity of the music instantly serves to place Griffin’s deep, rich baritone front and centre. There are miles in that voice, evoking a dark and storied history - it’s the type of voice that can easily add credence to questionable lyrics, but luckily he also has a writer’s eye for detail. See how the tension of the opening line, “I woke up to find her gone…” is wearily resolved with “… just like yesterday.” In fact, the lyric and stately delivery revel in the pace at which information is revealed, twisting meanings as the sentence settles.
As he comes to grips with the fact that the love he has poured into this relationship may not be enough to affect the outcome, the chorus' heartbreaking affirmation that "she was a question, not answer", is rendered even more devastating with the song’s final line: "now I know I could not answer that question." In his despair, he seems to almost take aim at the idea of romance itself - "they sold me a dream that I bought with my time." It is sparse, brutal writing, as indebted to the stark, no frills approach of Hemmingway or Bukowski, as it is to the emotional depths plunged by other baritones like Scott Walker, Stuart Staples or Matt Berninger, and it finds its perfect vehicle in it’s powerfully exposed minimalist construction.
Look / Like / Listen & Follow:
Fri 8th Jul – The Cave, Junction Festival – Clonmel IRL
Sat 9th Jul – Pine Lodge – Myrtleville IRL
Tues 12th Jul – Bom Banes – Brighton UK
Wed 13th Jul – The Islington – London UK
Fri 15th Jul - Dublin Castle - London UK
Sat 16th Jul – The Railway Hotel - Southend-on-Sea UK
Fri 22nd Jul – The Hot Spot – Greystones IRL
Sat 23rd Jul – The Workmans Club – Dublin IRL
Sun 24th Jul – Knockanstockan Festival – Blessington IRL
Thurs 28th Jul – Kasbah Social Club – Limerick IRL
Fri 29th Jul – Cleere’s – Kilkenny IRL
Sun 31st Jul – Indiependence Music & Arts Festival – Mitchelstown IRL