I think it's important. Admittedly, I was fast asleep at 11.11am this morning. I haven't bought a poppy either cos they don't really have them here like they do in Britain, but I think it's important to not forget about these things.
Today I want to mention a few artists that I feel have used the subject of the wars of the early 20th century to good effect - Jeremy Warmsley and GoodBooks.
Jeremy Warmsley is a 24 year old singer / songwriter / producer from West London. His debut album, The Art of Fiction, was released last year on Transgressive Records. Since then, it's probably been the album that has received the most play on my mp3 player. It's starts off like a speeding train with Dirty Blue Jeans and doesn't relent in its intensity. Warmsley's music embodies the new and the old, belonging somewhere in the gap between electronica and acoustic folky pop with a strong emphasis on lyrics, sometimes about different characters and stories, sometimes more personal.
The song which is relevant to today's discussion is the second track on the LP, I Promise, which was also Jeremy's debut single.
Quite simply, it's a wartime love song supported by army-style marchine beats and gentle guitar strumming which mix well with the multi-layered vocals. It makes me think of Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks in that there's a sense of longing of there allied to the idea I guess that an occupied country isn't that safe a place to be.
The military theme is also something I believe Jeremy will continue to use occasionally, judging by the following song, 15 Broken Swords, taken from an XFM gig at Camden Barfly earlier this year, which concerns a military wedding. It should figure on his second LP, due to surface next year - early reports suggest it will be immense.
He also took the time out to produce a remix of Passchendaele by ex-Transgressive label buddies, GoodBooks (who seem to get an incredible amount of remixes!). Passchendaele is a blissfully catchy tale of a father and son who both give the ultimate sacrifice for their country, fighting for the cause in the First and Second World Wars. Warmsley's version strips back the guitars and the electronics leaving just the vocal, which he then surrounds with a series of strings. This adds a more sombre tone to the song, perhaps more in fitting with its subject matter, without subduing the great melodies within it. It doesn't really showcase the depth of Jeremy's producing abilities as demonstrated on his LP, but that clearly is not the point. The original still has the edge, but the Warmsley version is a nice alternative.
Jeremy Warmsley - 15 Broken Swords (live at Barfly)
GoodBooks - Passchendaele (Jeremy Warmsley remix)
GoodBooks - Passchendaele (demo)