Album release: The Last Mad Surge of Youth by Henry Priestman (The Christians)
Release date: 17 February 2013
Listen: on official website
After three years in the making, Henry Priestman’s ‘The Last Mad Surge of Youth’ will be unleashed on UK listeners on 17th February 2014 through Proper Records. Eclectic, introspective and compelling, it was worth every second of the wait.
Released in 2009 on Island Records, Priestman’s first solo album, ‘Chronicles of Modern Life’, earned him plaudits as a songwriter. It was written in three weeks and recorded in less than a month, Henry explains, “I started this new one in 2010, expecting to get it done quickly to capitalise on the relative success of the first. I had a version almost ready, then sadly my mum died and ten months later my mother-in-law died. Suddenly rushing out an album didn’t seem that high up on the agenda. Furthermore, I started writing more songs better suited to where I was up to in my life. Consequently, it’s a more poignant and reflective album (and slightly less of a Chronicles Of Modern Life part II) than the original version would have been. It feels like a step forward rather than more of the same.”
More than 35 years in the music industry have helped bring some seasoned guests to the album. ‘The Last Mad Surge of Youth’ features the talents of Radio 2 Folk Award nominee Katriona Gilmore (Gilmore & Roberts), Graham Gouldman of 10cc, Paul Simpson (The Wild Swans) & Probyn Gregory (Brian Wilson/Beach Boys).
The album’s opener ‘At The End of The Day’, co-written with singer/songwriter Lotte Mullan (who also provides harmonies) was written for Henry’s mother. It couples well with ‘True Believer’, which features both the co-writing talent of the Grammy-nominated John Beck, and a choir of school children from one of Henry’s school-songwriting workshops, to create a two-part opener to the album. A fall and rise that hints at the level of detail that’s gone into an album that masterfully tugs on and releases the heart strings.
‘Valentine Song’ showcases Priestman’s knack with creating gripping, cinematic and emotive songs. It has been transformed into the central theme of the film Kismet Diner, winner of first prize at the “2013 Manhattan Short Films Festival.
The album flits between angry fiddle-laden stomps (Goodbye Common Sense), introspective singer/songwriter (At The End of The Day, and the title track) and blues–tinted pop (Rant ‘N’ Rave). That it’s so eclectic should be of no surprise for an artist whose debut topped Amazon’s Folk and World music chart, whilst at the same time been described as“music for grumpy old men” by Radio 2’s Johnnie Walker.
Whilst creating ‘The Last Mad Surge of Youth’ Henry has been playing many housegigs and also holding songwriting workshops at schools around the country, both of which will serve as good preparation for heading back to the road for a nationwide series of live dates in February, March and April 2014 to coincide with the release of the album.
Henry’s varied career has seen him open for the Sex Pistols, tour with The Who (with his 1st band, Yachts), and write every song on a triple platinum selling album with The Christians. To say nothing of music for ads, BBC TV Wildlife, X-box, & production work. Since the start of his solo career he has so far mined a similar rich vein of diversity and this latest album seems no exception.
‘The Last Mad Surge of Youth’ is a timely and well-constructed album, a voice for all the punks, rockers & folkies that have grown up and are still a little bit angry!
Kismet Diner (featuring ‘Valentine Song’):
“it’s absolutely brilliant.....he’s found his voice!” - Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2
“Rough-hewn charm” - The Sunday Times
“Henry Priestman’s songwriting skills have been honed through work with cult acts and chart-toppers, and his wry observations have been finely tuned into the kind of songs it’s near impossible not to like. - **** R2
“.... a fine songwriter with an acerbic wit when it comes to his take on relationships, work, life” - ****½ Maverick