Stuart Warwick
The Butcher's Voice


3.5
great

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (105 Reviews)
January 28th, 2013 | 5 replies


Release Date: 01/14/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 2013 introduces its first real opportunity to wallow in someone else's misery.

In a review for Perfume Genius’ 2012 release Put Ur Back N 2 It, I ran against the grain by dismissing the album as emotionally hollow. To summarise an old review that hasn’t been re-read, the sophomore effort tended to dive for old tricks assigned to typically “sad” albums in what could easily have been a fevered scramble to match his debut (read: to imitate genuine suffering). The internet disagreed: undermining what was otherwise a perfectly mediocre review and forcing me to wait for an excuse to reinforce my opinion. Despite introducing itself with what might be the most off putting album cover of the year - keeping in mind the fact it’s only January - The Butcher’s Voice provides this excuse. Inviting comparisons with a lone male voice on top of a minimalist emotional backing, though concerning himself more with intimacy that emotion, Stuart Warwick perfectly displays the power of a particularly human approach to songwriting.


The tracklist alone should hint at this. Song titles can be blunt, confusing and off putting in a way that rejects publicity and champions brutal honesty. For instance, “Damed Binned Cow” is unlikely to be uttered on a radio show and the chance of someone proclaiming their love for a song titled “Man With a Pussy” is slim, at best. The titles do their job perfectly, however, since it shouldn’t take too long to work out the dominance of gender roles in Stuart’s list of themes: a pertinent topic for a high-pitched, soft-spoken vocalist who chooses to crone over quiet guitar and piano sweeps.

There’s a very implicit anger drawn here as Stuart sings his resignation through gritted teeth. An incredibly well picked sample at the beginning of “The Fairer Sex” sets musings on the indifference of gender against barely stifled laughter, with the final uproar echoing into the song’s introduction. While not entirely cruel, it’s a powerful precursor to the quietest song: stirring up the water so that - once coloured by the instrumentation and lyrics - it still spins as this slow and steady song becomes something of a response to the abject ridicule in the sample. This effort alone fluently portrays Stuart as a kind of exhausted victim, and topped off with some select instrumental flourishes the song becomes incredibly powerful for one with so few and simple component parts.

Elsewhere he allows himself to be a little more bombastic. Thumping piano notes with clicks and claps help propel “Birds That Don’t Fly” to a dramatic crescendo before collapsing into familiar rumination. Likewise, the chorus of the title track is structured round powerful drum beats which stick out like concrete spikes in an otherwise subdued sonic field. However, he never gets ahead of himself: in isolation these moments could seem fairly standard, as it’s only by comparison that Stuart makes the minute additions feel like a spectacle. A similar approach is taken with any emotional delivery, with the most emotionally desperate point only comes in the entirely instrumental “Melancholonica.” Often he chooses to remain reserved to allow the emotional signs their space.

Overall, it’s clear that the emphasis in The Butchers Voice is to convey instead of impress, and while this may be explained by the few dog-eared edges of Stuart’s production the effect this has on the album’s likability is profound. This may introduce itself with an amateurish cover and shy introduction, but it will leave as a close friend.



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user ratings (1)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
January 28th 2013


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well hasn't it been a while...

Originally posted here: http://www.muzikdizcovery.com/2013/01/album-review-stuart-warwick-butchers.html

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 28th 2013


3513 Comments


Great review as always Jonny, have a pos. If you'd like more specific feedback let me know. This doesn't exactly look like my thing but I may give it a go anyways

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
January 29th 2013


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks man. If you're up for giving specific feedback, go for it. I'm aware the review isn't perfect (I mean, I wrote it in too long a space for any natural coherence, for one).

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2013


3513 Comments


Anyways, here we go:

To summarise an old review that hasn’t been re-read

I kind of see what you're doing with "hasn't been re-read" but that part isn't really necessary.

The internet disagreed: undermining what was otherwise a perfectly mediocre review and forcing me to wait for an excuse to reinforce my opinion.

The colon here is a bad idea, some other sort of punctuation would be better.

I can see what you're doing in the first paragraph, but to some people it would seem like you're just bitching about a negative reception to a review you wrote. I think there would probably be a better way to introduce your review, but this isn't a terrible introduction at least.

And, to be fair, the intro leads well into the meat of your review, but I feel like the whole point about the Internet thinking you're wrong isn't really necessary.

Song titles can be blunt, confusing and off putting in a way that rejects publicity and champions brutal honesty.

"Can be" isn't really a good thing. Are they or aren't they?

dominance of gender roles

Good, and I like how you touch on this and how Warwick fits into the whole thing as well. Strong point.

sings his resignation through gritted teeth.

Good.

Thumping piano notes with clicks and claps help propel “Birds That Don’t Fly” to a dramatic crescendo before collapsing into familiar rumination.

I'm not sure "rumination" is the word you want here.

is structured round powerful drum beats

I realize this is probably correct, but you could at least put an apostrophe before "round" or maybe go for "around."

This may introduce itself with an amateurish cover and shy introduction, but it will leave as a close friend.

"This album" would sound better than just "this."

Overall really really solid review, it's clear you have experience and it really shows. I'd love to possibly see you as a contrib/staff someday, and I think you've got the taste/skills necessary for either. BTW congrats on 2000 posts

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
January 30th 2013


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks man, very useful





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