This pretty much sums up Songs of Loss, the debut album by A Permanent Shadow, out as of September 20th, 2019. The ten songs on the album take us on a musical journey through the life of its creator. Lyrically the record portrays the lives of personalities that have inspired the author, some of them very close, some of the family, others fictitious. Happy-go-lucky it isn’t, though there are glimpses of hope, such as in the “carpe diem song” Now, the album’s third single after Empty and Fool, released on October 25th, 2019.
Now starts as a piano ballad but quickly evolves into an upbeat track with an electronic underbelly and hints of disco. On top of it all resides a life-affirming gospel chorus. The song, like its predecessors, arrives with a stunning video directed by Spanish horror movie director Dani Moreno. The video shows lead singer CP Fletcher in three different roles: TV personality/self help guru, the narrator as well as a suburban suicidal gun fanatic. An accompanying cast of actors and musicians turns the video into a feast for the eye.
A Permanent Shadow is a band for want of a better description. Its only fixture is CP Fletcher who for the recording of the record surrounded himself with a rotating cast of musicians and producers. A name that refers equally to areas of the moon untouched by sunlight, the after-effects of nuclear disaster and human skin peculiarities, for the band’s founder it represents melancholy, nostalgia and other sentiments usually traceable on the darker side of human life. As they say, the experience is a degree. CP Fletcher is 45 years old.
A drummer in a succession of unsuccessful bands, after another stint in a band that would go nowhere at all, CP decided that enough was enough and turned his own musical ideas and fragments into songs. Some of them he had been carrying around for decades, others were developed with Albert Català, a classically trained piano player who would help CP whip the demos into shape.
The finishing touches in the studio were provided by renowned producer Valentín Nieto. The album was recorded in Barcelona over the course of several months from Spring to Autumn 2018, with Albert Català on piano, synthesizers and keyboards and Valentín Nieto covering guitar, bass, and additional keyboards. Musicians from the local Rock and Jazz scene contributed additional instruments and backing vocals.
CP took his first steps as a frontman forming a Lou Reed tribute project, The Magic and Loss Orchestra. Such is his admiration for the curmudgeon from New York that the tribute experience ended up bleeding into A Permanent Shadow via a cover of Sword of Damocles, originally featured on Reed’s Magic and Loss album and included on Songs of Loss in a reworked form. The album also features a reading of See the Lights by another of CP’s heroes, Simple Minds. Both fit seamlessly into the record’s overall themes of loss and reflection.
Speaking of heroes, an ode to CP’s biggest hero, David Bowie, is the album’s centerpiece. Sailor contemplates the influence of Bowie not just on CP but on various generations of misfits, as well as the impact of his untimely passing. Songs of Loss, however, not only mourns the loss of loved ones. Losing faith, the fear of solitude and experiencing failing health are
other themes the album explores. A sixteen-year-old might not relate to them. People of a certain age and experience hopefully will.
The music is a blend of old and new, the songs drawing from the likes of (in no particular order) David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Scott Walker, Gary Numan, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian and Nine Inch Nails as well as more recent artists like Sharon Van Etten, White Lies, Editors, Interpol, LCD Soundsystem and Franz Ferdinand, encompassing Post Punk, Funk Punk and Synth Pop.
Songs from the heart.
Songs of Loss by A Permanent Shadow.