One of the new releases that slipped under my radar recently was Convalescence from Coventry based The Unresolved. I caught part of their set last summer at The Giffard Arms in Wolverhampton, and even that brief exposure left me sufficiently curious to hear more.
The Unresolved – Convalescence
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Sophie James
The joy of critiquing an album is that you have to take your time, live with it, let it breathe, and take it for long walks in the country or long drives to absorb and appreciate the vocal and instrumental nuances and lyrical themes. So, a not-so-brief rundown of their album.
It starts sedately with the acoustic instrumental Christine. Not at all representative of what follows, it acts in a similar manner to a live Intro Tape. Doctor Breakthrough is when things really start. A bubbling bassline is a false indicator of what follows. With its speed and textures, I can only describe it succinctly as Punk Hillbilly, with a huge chorus that would induce a crowd chantalong, I’m sure. “No matter where you are, I’m coming, coming for you!!, Coming for you!” A top set opener.
“Livin’ life with lips around a bottle”. Escape Reality has an overturian riff that you immediately fall for. A cautionary tale about the Demon Drink, it fuses the bluster of early Kiss with the swagger of ’80s Sleaze, fading with an Axlesque sustain. Some great playing from Darren above the coda too.
The huge chorus of “It breathes life into me, to Escape Reality” is another hook that will tempt you into singing along.
“One more drink, it all turns to black” is the mid-number refrain. So many outstanding lines that most of us have uttered to ourselves at one time or another.
Manifesto is a stirring, foot-stomping antidote to self-doubt and acquiescence. The exquisite solo is comparatively low in the mix, being an integral part of the sound captured by Chris Fairless as opposed to standing out from it. A feature throughout that just adds to the album’s overall charm.
Snake Eyes continues the inspiration leanings, with its fuzzy groove reminiscent of Clutch and immediately gets the head nodding.
“Who cares about lies, who cares about truth.” For those who are already, or soon to become familiar with the opening chords of Chinese Whispers, then that recognition of that sound will have folks racing down to the front barrier. One of the highlights of the album and the type of song that soon has you nodding and yelling along.
The most catchy and charismatic protest song about politicians, their mouthpieces and apologists that you’re ever likely to hear. “Who cares about lies? Who cares about truth? You don’t need the proof, you only care for the Chinese Whispers.” So many great lines in this, and surely destined to become a live favourite, if not already.
Talking about highlights, what follows is the unequivocal pinnacle.
A voiceover begins Moonlight Sonata. Well, not a voiceover but an actual Radio Broadcast. The most ominous broadcast of all time, being as it was originally transmitted on 3rd September 1939. “This morning, the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government the final note……”
When one commences a song with such an impactful introduction, then what follows has to match. This song can be described as nothing short of illustrious. Chronicling the Coventry Blitz, in particular, the first night, forget rock ‘n’ roll symbolism. This is about true heroism and defiance in the face of the deadliest adversity.
The opening chords immediately cast dark clouds of impending doom. “Roar of engines overhead, Archangel can’t defend this town.” The atmosphere draws you in, placing you at the scene, your whole being full of trepidation as hell is about to be unleashed.
“Cos we’re not on our own, we rise up from the blaze.” While Thomas’ Watersesque vocal accentuates the sense of foreboding, his words are a plea, if not an assertion that we will endure and overcome. One cannot help to make another Floyd comparison with Darren’s solo. Imagine if young David had been in a heavier band. If you are going to be inspired, then it may as well be by the very best.
If Adam ever had a career aspiration to compose a piece that pays due reverence to the City’s darkest chapter, then with this, he has exceeded that and should be justifiably proud.
“You devastate our spires, But we’re not alone”. That one word, fellas [Not featured here. You will have to go listen]. Simply Wow! Respect.
A commonly heard phrase at a gig is ‘Worth the price of admission alone’. This track is the recorded equivalent. The most powerful and emotive piece of music that I have heard this year. I really could go into so much more depth on this track and what it means and represents, but I will spare you that.
Counterfeit Friend is pure Sons of Liberty. While lyrically, it is a cynical description of the malevolent narrator, musically, it’s time to don your whiskey-soaked cowboy or hobnail boots and then dance like a loon whilst clutching a bottle of Jack [other brands are also available, Ed].
Come And Take It has a more punky feel to it, with a singalong chorus right out of the late ’70s. There is some lavish Guitar/Bass interplay, too, between Darren and Matt on Guitar and Bass, respectively. Would love to see how this would pan out in the live environment.
False Prophecy is another piece of acerbic commentary. “A country ruled by a suit without a crown,” and “Vote for change while you still can” encourage another Velvet Revolution. We are British, after all.
The album concludes with Deadbeat Rocker, which, as its name suggests, is a foot-to-the-floor dash to the finishing line. For some inexplicable reason, I have a mental image of the two characters Hale and Pace used to portray back in the day. Envisage the post-solo drum n’ bass breakdown inciting a mass chant when performed live.
A most enjoyable album with an unexpected variety in the range of styles executed. It has certainly whetted my appetite for catching a more complete set next time.
While lyrical snippets of many of the themes have been featured, overall, they demonstrate an intelligent social awareness, exhibiting frustration at the consistent failure of political leadership across multiple generations. Marrying them to upbeat rhythms and infectious melodies, they never come across as preachy.
An album that deserves multiple listens for it to be fully appreciated, and unlike another album that has been the source of recent discussion, this one is far more accessible, with its gems being unlocked far more easily.
The album is out now and available from https://www.the-unresolved.com/store/categories/convalescence and to stream.
Convalescence – Track Listing
- Doctor Breakthrough
- Escape Reality
- Snake Eyes
- Chinese Whispers
- Moonlight Sonata
- Counterfeit Friend
- Come and Take It
- False Prophecy
- Deadbeat Rocker
Thomas Gould – Vocals
Darren Bickerton – Guitar
Matt Cox – Bass
Adam Gostick – Drums
Produced by Chris Fairless, who also features on Keys.
Lyrics by Adam Gostick
Lyrics for Snake Eyes & Escape Reality by Adam Gostick & Andrew Williams