Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews of Communion Music at 2KHz, Crouch End, London
Needs and temptations are hard to control. It's tougher still when needs are more like wants and temptations are ingrained urges. No matter who you are, there's selfishness in everything that you do or say. Some of it is good and some of it can be bad, but essentially, you're thinking firstly of preservation, of looking out for yourself, even when being giving or courageous. The songs on VV Brown's latest album - the singles that have preceded the album's release, especially - are examples of what it feels like to be swept up in some of the most deceptive emotions that make a body writhe and squirm with itchiness. They bear great anxiety - steeped in pent up fever and a fog rolling in that's going to make vision tough.
"Samson" tells the biblical story of Samson and Delilah, where the former is hired by shitty people to seduce Samson and get him to tell her the secret to his strength. He lies to her three times and then, the fourth time she asks, he tells her that his power lies in his hair. If it were ever to be cut off, he would be weak, a mortal. In the night, she and the goons slice off his seven locks of hair and he's eventually beaten and has his eyes gouged out. There's a lot of selfishness in Delilah's story.
Brown conveys the story in the way that there are two victims, or two people bleeding out. The sky's a slapped skin reddish pink and some serious looking thunderheads off in the west - puffing up and fuming. There's no getting past a feeling of doom, of people intruding, of the temperature dropping fifteen degrees suddenly. These are wakeful nights. These are strained embraces. These are empty words being spoken - some delayed goodbyes and people behaving badly.
She sings with the rips and tears, with the cuts and burns in her voice. The hurt is very raw and there's no resolution to be found. She keeps taking up to the brink - to those places where we're in for a feast of mistreatment and dismissal. Sometimes, she's able to place it in a bed, between some sheets, resting a head on a pillow, where it looks peaceful, giving it a rest for a while, but she reminds us that the head's still screwed up, the heart's burdened and the sharks are still swimming in the waters right outside the door and below the windows.
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