Irish musician Sean Murphy, aka All The Queen’s Horses, hasn’t spent the global pause of the past twelve months idly. Raised By Wolves and The Ides Of March are the first two singles from his forthcoming debut album The Dark Below and the Isle of Dogs recorded during this period of universal twilight. As we are forced to sit alone with ghosts that haunt us these two tracks set a tone that reflects our current state of cultural isolation. With the poetic nuance of Leonard Cohen and the vocal resonance of Nick Cave Murphy uses the tools of folklore and allegory to create powerful first person narratives that illustrate the unavoidable perils of fate.
Raised By Wolves is a dark cautionary tale of misfortune and the inescapable weight of a life scarred by abandonment. Murphy writes in a narrative tradition using each poetic verse to create powerful dramatic tension. Stark imagery and nuanced twists on mythology tell a story of a man condemned by his fatal flaws and this heaviness is felt in the timbre of his voice. He sings, “I hold onto Jerusalem with my arrow and my bow” with such desperation and conviction I feel the heat of the desert sun and grit of sand of my face.
The Ides Of March continues these themes of spiritual betrayal and malevolent intervention with the softness of mournful cello and sparse piano accompaniment. The title speaks to betrayal and ill fate that is felt in the weariness and resignation of Murphy’s soulful delivery. His wife Sinead’s haunting voice weaves around the melody in the background adding an ethereal quality that compounds the sense of loss.
These songs appeal to my love of the arcane—the dirty—the lost causes that slip from our tired grip. These don’t beg for forgiveness but rather illustrate the difficult reflections on life’s trajectories that have led to a tragic and inevitable outcome. Perfect listening music as we sit in the last frosts of winter and await a promised spring that is still not in sight.
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Find The Ides of March on our Lazy Indie Morning playlist