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  • Rob


This month's Rough Trade Exclusive is ‘The Greater Wings’ by Julie Byrne. I’ll admit it, I’ve never heard of Byrne and know nothing about her so I was listening to this blind (that is terrible, but you know what I mean).

Some digging tells me that the album was started in 2020 and was being worked on during lockdown but Eric Littmann, Byrne’s collaborator and ex-lover, passed away unexpectedly in June 2021 and the whole thing was shelved. Once the project started up again, the themes had understandably changed with songs of love turning into songs of loss.

This is a quiet album with Byrne’s delicate, hushed vocals weaving in and out of her acoustic guitar and restrained strings. There is no percussion on this record at all. Sounds like an odd choice but I think the songs are too delicate for bangs and crashes, it would take away from the discrete harp and analogue synth parts that fill the songs.

There are some truly beautiful tracks on this record and some of the lyrics hit like a hammer once the background to the record is known: “You’re always in the band / Forever underground / Name my grief to let it sing”. I saw Mojo describe the album as “written in love, completed in grief” which is a perfect description.

This is the Rough Trade Exclusive which comes on ‘Blood Moon’ vinyl and includes a bonus CD that features four tracks (three brand new songs plus a Jackson Browne cover), if you fancy a copy it is available for £25. Or you can pick it up on blue vinyl for about £22 from your favourite independent retailer.

Tracks To Try: ‘The Greater Wings’, ‘Portrait Of A Clear Day’, ‘Summer Glass’, ‘Flare’, ‘Death Is The Diamond’.


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