Sad Lovers & Giants - Feeding The Flame review

album cover for Sad Lovers & Giants - Feeding The Flame review
Article Date: 31-10-2009
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In a book dedicated to the new wave Federico Guglielmi in 1983 identifies the time limit beyond which “can no longer speak of new wave”.

To fully agree with this definition of time I’d like to suggest “Feeding the flame” by Sad Lovers & Giants as a commemorative epitaph.

 When “Feeding the flame” came out, right at the end of 1983, Sad Lovers & Giants had already dissolved in a climate of disillusionment and lack of confidence. Right when things were finally beginning to stir up, with more frequent gigs in England and Northern Europe (where they were particularly popular), the awareness of having to coordinate the quality of their writing with the band promotional obligations, got on their nerves. Things were moving not only on the commercial front, the Sad Lovers & Giants’ sound had improved a lot since “Epic music garden” the debut album published the previous year. 

A native of Watford, the band formed in 1981 around a group composed of Garcia (vocals), Cliff Silver (bass), Nigel Pollard (drums), Tristan Garel Funk (guitar) and David Wood (keyboards and sax), first recording two single for Last Movement (the three tracks EP Cle that included Imagination,Landslide and When I see you and the 7 ‘ Colorless dream / Things we never did) then including two songs on Thing from the Crypt’s compilation (Clint and Take me inside) and finally joined Midnight Music with whom recorded the debut album (an eight track EP titled “Epic garden music“) and two singles (”Lost in a moment / the tightrope touch” and “Man of straw / Cowboys) that anticipated the release of Feeding the Flame, a significantly higher level album compared to the previous production.

With this album the Sad Lovers improved almost everything: writing and composition (more beautiful and polished tunes), more fathom arrangements and better sound (in terms of better definition and essence). Great narrative’s balance, facilitated by a beautiful set list (I remember I first listened, from the front four titles, to “Strange Orchard” cause the lack of precise directions), along with autumnal atmospheres that suggest listening to this music in a quiet setting and yet there are no traces of dullness or self-complacence. It’s romanticism, perhaps crystallized in the subtle color of a snapshot that warms up the heart.

Essential drumming, bass lines and vocals but above all a great Tristan Garel Funk proving of being at the top of his creativity; he uses the guitar’s effects more carefully (although chorus and flanger remain a strong stylistic choice) and leads and supports most of the band compositions. What’s his best part? The hypnotic riff in Vendetta played an octave higher then later turned almost in a Bach-like symphony and that still provides for David Wood the opportunity to play melodic synth’s lines.

However I believe Tristan Garel Funk work on this album does not meet the criteria for joining the club of guitar players such as John Mc Geoch (more versatile research of chords) or Robert Smith (more lucid and minimalist). The three beautiful introductory chords of Big Tracks Little Tracks (among the album best with interesting tweaked harmonies), the two distinguishable melodies within the circular configuration of the lower arpeggio that characterize the amazing Your Skin and Mine, the refining work on Sleep (is for everyone) and the beautiful enrichments on Another Day are among the best of the Sad Lovers.

After a couple of years break (with the exception of the excellent “In the Breeze” and the live recording “Total Sound“) the Sad Lovers reformed without Tristan. Despite of his presence the magic of “Feeding the Flame” will remain forever engraved in that 1983’s snapshot.

Anto (2000)      translation by Barbara Burgio

Article Copyright: Miusika

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