|Butch Walker - 'Peachtree Battle' (Lojinx)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Thursday, 12 September 2013 03:00|
I know I'm not alone in stating that the prospect of new product from Butch Walker is like regressing to a childhood Christmas Eve.
Yes, it's that big.
With a 12" record on heavyweight 180gm vinyl to follow the (initial) digital release from the ever-cool Lojinx in the UK, 'Peachtree Battle' arrives in a hurry, charmingly unexpected yet coupled with a sense of sadness.
Sitting comfortably between Butch's recent work with The Black Widows and 'Sycamore Meadows', 'Peachtree Battle' owes more, thematically at least, to that great 2008 solo album.
Where the majority of 'Sycamore Meadows' was lyrically inspired by the loss of his home to the Malibu fires of 2007, Walker picks at the scab of his emotions ever further with this new collection of songs.
With his father in poor health Butch decided to release an EP rather than wait for a full album to be completed, the aim being that Mr. Walker Snr could hear it before illness took complete control. With his father sadly being no longer with us the lyrics of 'Peachtree Battle' certainly take on a whole new meaning. Rather than being considered fine tales of borderline melancholia, the lyrics now take the form of proper lump-in-throat tear-jerkers, every line coated in emotion.
Even when the EP, made up of five songs that simply fly by, perhaps surprisingly given the gravity of the release, does go up tempo, it does so on a tune called 'Favourite Son' - this has to be classed as a celebration of life rather than a product of loss.
Opener 'I've Been Waiting For This' would have sat nicely alongside its musical cousins on 'The Spade', musically footed in that loose Americana that Walker and band threw out so effortlessly over two rightly lauded albums, lyrically poignant: "Nothing can prepare you for the coldness of the fall..."
"How much time have you got?" opens second song, 'Peachtree Battle', the title track echoing the thought process behind the naming of 'Sycamore Meadows' - that album namechecking the street devastated by flames, this EP a street in Atlanta, Georgia. Try listening to the closing line and not getting a little sentimental.
'Coming Home' says it all in its title really. Butch has claimed that these songs are very near and dear to his heart and this four minute tune with infectious guitar break and powerful words offers nothing to make us think anything different.
In fact, listening to the EP, given what we know, makes initial playbacks feel almost intrusive, like we're ear-wigging private conversations. It's all part of what makes Butch Walker complete though, isn't it? All part of why this artist, if you, like me, have fallen completely under the spell of both his song and lyric writing, strikes such a chord so deeply within us, stirring something personal that we wouldn't necessarily want to share with strangers yet feel totally at ease with when in the extended company of one of a Marvelous 3 that dazzled us so many moons ago.
By the time EP closer 'Let It Go Where It's Supposed To' comes around the only thing that can be done is press play and listen to the whole thing from start to finish once again. Maybe it's the thinking, the attempts at picking out certain lyrics of extreme gravitas, but the five songs appear to sail by in a blur.
It's so great to have Butch Walker back with new music, just sad that it has to be to a backdrop of such sadness. With that though it is, so we should all take 'Peachtree Battle' to heart; instead of just celebrating the music, we should all take stock of our lives, prioritise, think more of the simple things, of the good people who mean the most to us.
Then again, hasn't the music of Butch Walker always made us do that?