Pitchfork (Website) - "MONEY manage to make the prospect of weathering your own personal apocalypse sound not only beautiful, but transformative."
Clash (magazine) - "[E]ven the most fragile of tracks retain an understated level of splendour that permeates insidiously in the quiet moments of respite, before bursting forth as a torrent during the record's more majestic moments."
Personnel: Jo Archard, Kirsty Mangan (violin); Polly Wiltshire (viola); Rachael Lander (cello); Sarah Andrew (bassoon); Austin Cooper (trumpet, flugelhorn); Edward Parr, Viva Msimang (trombone); Charlie Andrew (dilruba).
Audio Mixer: Charlie Andrew.
Recording information: Iguana Studio, Brixton, London.
Photographer: Joe Wilson .
Enigmatic from their onset, MONEY's early days included frequent band name changes, D.I.Y. multimedia shows in abandoned buildings, and a reluctance to appear in publicity photos or music videos. After it became known that leader Jamie Lee had relocated from the group's base of Manchester, England to London while his bandmates remained, mystery also surrounded whether or not the band would finish another album, much less manage to equal their impressively absorbing, melancholic debut, especially with additional talk of struggles with alcohol and mental health. Reunited in a Brixton studio under the guidance of producer Charlie Andrew (Alt-J), the band, it turns out -- perhaps against the odds of sophomore albums in general without the extra troubles -- created an artfully fortified second LP that manages to merit its somewhat imposing title. On Suicide Songs, MONEY add instrumental texture to their atmospheric, guitar-driven indie rock via strings, brass, woodwinds, and more. Instead of inflating the sound, however, the added timbres are carefully selected and arranged with elegantly expressive results. "You Look Like a Sad Painting on Both Sides of the Sky," for instance, which opens with acoustic guitar and Lee's movingly craggy delivery of the folky melody ("There will be music all around/When they put me in the ground"), adds simple piano, sparse drums, and moaning cello to a slow build that ends in a low, unison sigh by Lee and strings. "Suicide Song," a paradoxically sunshiny tune, similarly treats horns as human-like voices to unbalanced effect, as if a New Orleans funeral brass band broke into a tribute to classic Brit-pop. In the scene-setting "Night Came," strings and guitars interact seamlessly with Lee's vocals, all crying and stuttering while trying to hold on to the melody. Elsewhere, "I Am the Lord" ("I don't want to be God/I just don't want to be human") features the Indian stringed instrument dilruba -- not the only Beatles-spotted moment on the album. The crowning achievement is that all of the musical and lyrical poetry works together to make a haunting, howling album that, despite outward signs, is above all tuneful and engaging. ~ Marcy Donelson