Monday, 29 July 2013

Top 102 Albums⁺ Minus Six. In Cassidy's Care

Top 102 Albums⁺ Minus Six. 
In Cassidy's Care - Miracle Mile

"Hope will be the death of me"

Regular readers will know Trevor Jones from his many comments on posts here and quite possibly from his own excellent blog at http://hissyf.blogspot.co.uk. Some may even know his music but not as many of you as should. His band, Miracle Mile, have released seven studio albums and a compilation since 1997. In Cassidy's Care is their eight studio album, and was released officially on July 22nd. I've had a copy for a month or so (bought here) and have been listening to it more and more.
My experience of this album began with a series of posts on Trevor's Hissyfit which grew into the short story In Cassidy's Care from which the songs on this album grow. The story tells of a teacher, Cassidy, who has moved to London from Connecticut, met his then future wife on a park bench to which he now takes his two sons when they are "in Cassidy's care", as he is now separated from his wife. His wife is called Amelia, calling to his mind the Joni Mitchell song. Indeed, detritus from the song are strewn through the story, from geometry to a cactus. Slanted and pointed.

In some ways it is the story of fading dreams. Cassidy has embraced ordinary. He has accepted failure and even his brief flashes of anger at his wife for leaving him ("Once he'd been a dragon slayer, now the dragon was burning his fucking french toast...") pass uneventfully. But there are real events, births, deaths, marriage and divorce, even the stabbing of his neighbour Monty that seems to have wandered in from a Joe Orton play.

There are other strange interludes; a couple on a bus with a strange baby, a drummer's fears realised in a dream, a yodelling grandfather but the key story concerns Cassidy facing up to the end of his marriage and the death of his father. There is an overwhelming desire to overcome disassociation running through the story, a desire to let go or spontaneously combust.  To let go of the polite middle distance. As his father says to Cassidy - "seems to me that your life is too damned .... considered."

Read the story HERE.

The album beats against the story like rain on a roof, echoing aspects of the source but more intimate and personal. At the moment the theme which grabs me is that of fading dreams, a mid-life disturbance. Regret, always tempered by tenderness, washes through the carefully crafted, layered music and the precise words. You can't help but think of the story of Miracle Mile, critically feted but often with a phrase such as "the best band you've never heard of" tagged to their glowing reviews. Through the story of Cassidy he interrogates his own place, standing at the shore watching his ships on the distant horizon as he prepares to launch another one.

The phrase 'if only' seems to hang over many of the songs like a pallid moon.
"There’s a pain deep in my belly
That just won’t go away
We all get lost and lonely
Bedeviled by regret
And start to think if only
The past could be reset"

The melodies are quietly insistent and lush. There is a simplicity and sincerity and an edge of strangeness that keeps the album from veering too close to the MOR. It is hard to understand why this music doesn't have a wider following. Maybe this time?

If I had a wish it would be to see Trevor as a writer and a songwriter embrace the strangeness that underpins his writing and release something more Frank's Wild Years than Foreign Affair. Something less 'considered'. Whether he does or doesn't I'm looking forward to getting to know In Cassidy's Care and his back catalogue even better and will be looking forward to the next steps he chooses to take, whether towards the fireside or the inferno.

To hear more Miracle Mile follow this LINK.


  1. Sorry I've been a stranger awhile; day job etc.
    I love the review Seamus; and am slightly unsettled by it. You are a perceptive gentleman; it's as if you were standing next, looking over my shoulder as I wrote...
    I think that's why I'm so close to Cassidy; 'there but for the grace of God' etc... contentment can be a killer... it's the crux of much middle aged musing.
    'The fireside or the inferno'?
    There's the rub...
    Maybe as time withers, the glass chin won't be quite so prominent and I'll learn to chase the devil's tale; the way of all feisty flesh I guess; the alternative is a graceless slow fade...

    1. Welcome back stranger. Hope all the positive responses build some momentum! I don't really want you to leap onto the inferno. I think the key is to look into the fire and see the inferno there rather than enter where you must "abandon all hope" as once "written by an Italian poet from the 13th century."

  2. I don't want to get too close to the flames though Seamus; it might melt my chocolate Hob Nobs...

    1. Doesn't that happen when you dip them in your tea anyway?

  3. Ah yes, but the disintegration is all in my control. Hell fire and chocolate should never be in the same room...