Record review: Sweethearts of The Prison Rodeo – On The Desolate Hill [Wise Blood]

a2276971222_10After a well received split EP with Adam Stafford released in 2012, Sweethearts of The Prison Rodeo have now come together with Stafford to release their debut LP On The Desolate Hillside, through Stafford’s own label Wise Blood Industries.

Including spoken word poetry blended with atmospheric instrumentation and a droning Scots accent through lyric writer and lead vocalist D. King, this album is a stirring collection of songs, poems and interludes which will really make you think.

The album starts with a poem written by Paul Toner where the title of speaks for itself, ‘The Weather Report is Grim and Dark’, and can set the album up for a gloomy yet realistic outlook on life.

The start of the album is slow and minimal but lyrically hard hitting by King as he sings about Freud’s theories and corruption within people in power, but he does also delve into a rabbits sex drive in lead single ‘The Solitary Rabbit’.

King has charm and charisma flowing through his lyrics with some images similar to those dark poems and lyrics of Nick Cave, however can sound similar in voice to fellow Falkirk singer Aidan Moffat.

‘Hell Is Awaiting’ is where the true talents of multi-instrument members Robbie Lesuik and Stafford shine through with brilliant rhythms and melodies contrasting Kings political and often dark lyrics.

The second half of the album really takes off with country-esque handclaps and a bass line that can bring you to dance in ‘Anomie Encumbrance’, which finishes with the confirming message: “we’ll never start a revolution, because we’re too busy watching television”.

Throughout the album there are signs of it being able to start a revolution, but after this message, the last track, which is also the title track, tells you to stick to what you know and do best; a sign that perhaps it is not quite a revolution after all.

This anti-climax is a pity, however the song then finishes where the album started with another beautiful poem written by Toner in a way to perfectly end the record.

The album gives off great-motivated realism of the Scotland we live in and the changes that can and should happen.

SoTPR have released a fascinating debut album and when they come back with a second LP, I’m sure they will have gained more experience as a band and will be ready to truly start a revolution.

Words: Euan Brock


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