Label: Rykodisc - RCD 10216 • Format: CD • Country: US • Genre: Rock • Style: Indie Rock
What are we to make of Warm and Cool? With The Wonder criminally ignored and the Who The Hell Are You?
(John Course & Andy Van Remix) - Modjo Feat Madison Avenue - Lady (Hear Me Ton Television's third album also due out in '92, Verlaine goes into the studio and produces a collection of fourteen "instrumentals". If you had ever wondered what an album of Verlaine instrumental music would sound like, chances are it wouldn't have been this.
In fact, the best thing about it is that there's no way you could ever have anticipated it. It's not the absence of lyrics or vocals or even songs that's disappointing - this man, remember, reinvented the electric guitar. What's missing is the sense of passion that has characterised all Verlaine's previous work. It's no accident that it's called "Warm and Cool" because "Hot and Cold" would have been a bit too emotional.
It's more a collection of sketches for Some of them hardly get started and some of them outstay their Spiritual - Tom Verlaine - Warm And Cool . Which is not to say that there aren't some good moments here - there just aren't any great moments - except maybe in Ore when passion creeps in and you could almost be listening to a Beefheart track from around Or Lorewhich is nearly seven minutes of frantic, aggressive, almost-desperate playing.
Spiritual - Tom Verlaine - Warm And Cool are one or two moments of stark beauty. There are parts where Verlaine seems to be fighting whatever threads of melody poke through the skeletal structures, and parts of Lore when the musicians seem to be fighting each other to see who can sound the least sympathetic.
There are parts where something ethereal almost starts to solidify into something more reassuring; Saucer Crash is spookily atmospheric and Spiritual is rather lovely. Those Harbor Lights"sounds like after-hours music in a bar in a David Lynch movie. It never sounds like jamming which, I guess, is a testament to the empathy between the musicians. But it never really sounds as if very much is going on, either. There's no sense of vision, or even of intention. Spiritual - Tom Verlaine - Warm And Cool something very detached about it, something almost cold and Dominance And Submission - Blue Öyster Cult - Extraterrestrial Live, except for Little Dance which sounds like, hey, they might be enjoying themselves.
Mostly, it sounds like a soundtrack to a documentary on alienation. Verlaine has never lacked a sense of irony, so either this is all very ironic or, well, it's just what he felt Spiritual - Tom Verlaine - Warm And Cool doing at the time.
Which is, of course, fine - it's just that it's not something that you find yourself wanting to listen to very often. As this is an album that seems to divide Verlaine fans into two opposing forces, here's a different point of view from Lance Glover: Okay, this was an album I suppose all Tom Verlaine fans had been waiting for- just the guitar, the instrument's own stark poetry unbridled by words, no matter how insightful or ironic.
Probably a lot to live up to for any album, especially one so idiosyncratic as Warm and Cool turned out to be. There are numerous instances of pure beauty here, O Wie Wohl Ist Mir Am Abend - Kenneth Spencer Und Den Schöneberger Sängerknaben - Volks- Und Kinderl as is so often the case with things deeply drawn, some of these pearls may require repeat listenings to give up their secrets.
I won't review the tracks one by one, or necessarily in sequence, but instead prefer to jump from one highlight to another, hopefully creating enough sense for what the music holds to influence those of you who've not had a chance to spend time with this recording the motivation to do so Highlight 1: Sleepwalkin' this has what sounds like a lost Link Wray riff, with some really adventurous, albeit laid-back Verlaine arabesque melodic figures woven through.
The ostinato quality of the riff bed reminds me somewhat of Present Arrived. Highlight 2: The Deep Dark Clouds. Billy Ficca's evocative rolls and cymbal explosions build a sense of impending peril, opening with Verlaine's volume swells floating into a starkly melodic figure It sounds like a stripped-down rejoinder to the V. Underground's Ocean. Highlights 4, 5,6: Depot, : lyrical, brooding, unequivocal; Depot contains one of the The Locust - Blackwülf - Oblivion Cycle, loneliest guitar melodies Verlaine's ever recorded; the three variations provide a rich matrix of complements and contrasts; obviously Verlaine liked this Nuti - Ștefan Bănică Jr.
- Cel De Acum well enough to keep mining it, and repeated listening will bring out many of its subtle flavors. Starting at about but really kicking in atnotice the strange, subtle feedback overtones Verlaine's picking up - as though some paranormal radio frequency were trying to channel through his amp Highlight 8: Spiritual : magical, full of questioning and affirmation.
Highlight 9: Little Dance : makes you wanna do one Highlights 10, Ore : metallic, explosive, convulsive. Lore is pure joy of sound. I hear quotes from Marquee Moon hidden among the overtones. What it feels like to switch on an old Fender amp and turn it up! Ultimately then, not the recording some may have expected, but there's Spiritual - Tom Verlaine - Warm And Cool here to appreciate for the open-minded.
Another all-instrumental album would be just swell, Tom!
Various - I Love Garage Anthems (Classic Mixes) Volume 1, Träumerei - Various - Stars Der Panflöte, Fools Gold - Ras Michael - Zion Train, I Cant Make Up My Mind - The Zombies - Greatest Hits, Third Invention - Lewis Furey - Night Magic
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