The Manchester band have created an album of such emotional wonderment, it’s almost makes Unknown Pleasures abysmal.
The album is quite clearly not punk; it’s not Joy Division (before you all kill me). MONEY is the polar opposite. Whereas Joy Division used deep guitar riffs, and Ian Curtis’ baritone vocals matched with his self deprecating lyrics; MONEY uses, delicate piano tones and the angelic vocals of Jamie Lee to express harrowing tales of modern day living and to express a religious message.
The religious references are a constant throughout. Jamie’s relations to religion within the songs are no hidden secret to MONEY fans, so it comes as no surprise the album is filled with these references; but MONEY avoid sounding like the preaching man on Market Street, telling everyone they’re doomed, by combining these lyrics with soft guitars riffs deserving of stadium status; beautiful piano playing and almost some psychedelic tendencies on tracks Bluebell Fields and Cold Water.
The Behemoth Letter To Yesterday, does however scream at its climax ‘Oh there’s blood!’
The single Hold Me Forever is the grandest example of MONEY’s skill of turning a clearly religiously focused song into something of universal proportions. The song of a saviour for the modern man with a lack of faith, who needs his own saviour because of his own lack of faith ‘Even if, you hold me forever, I’ll become bored’ God cannot keep him forever but he believes in God’s ways, with the bellowing of Heaven at the end of the track, silenced with ‘It’s real’.
Quite possibly the only true song to avoid any form of religious references however is the soul destroying Goodnight London. Imagine a broken man, lying alone on a cold balcony, with a failed cigarette. He filled people’s lives with love and laughter, and now his own falls silent. ‘Every boy I’ve ever loved, and every girl I’ve loved, closed their eyes, and said goodnight London’. It’s his tale of entrapment, all of his friends have chased their dreams of living in the big city and all have failed leaving him on his own whilst his friends leave him to his own eventual demise.
The Shadow Of Heaven is truly a dark album for such light instrumentation and high vocals. Its outer shell is that of an Indie band trying to be something different by appearing emotional because of their style of music.
But MONEY has a serious message to share to everyone, one of sorrow, love, remorse, loneliness, empowerment, the sense of euphoria. If you’d never heard of MONEY and fell upon this, you’d swear it could be the bands 5th 6th 7th whatever album, not their first. Before this album, I thought no one will reach the level of Unknown Pleasures ever again. But it’s safe to say The Shadow Of Heaven is sharing the same podium as Unknown Pleasures even if that is an extreme for an album so young
No question – 10/10