Grand Salvo : Slay Me In My Sleep
The first thing that hits you about the new Grand Salvo album is the protracted song titles. They’re so bloody long I could fill up my required word count for this review simply by listing them. This is a marked contrast to Paddy Mann’s previous album, Soil Creatures, with its pared-down compositions stripping the song titles down to a single word. This new extravagance suggests a dense, literary album but Slay Me In My Sleep (depressing album name permitting), reveals an artist with a spring in his step and romance on his mind.
The sixth Grand Salvo album feels like more of a group effort than Mann’s last couple of recordings. Rather than sticking to a lonesome vocal occasionally joined by Luluc’s Zoe Randall, a chorus of voices descends to rally along for some of Mann’s surprisingly sunny melodies. Composer Nils Frahm works his magic on keys, while a more expansive instrumentation (is that a guitar solo I hear?) weaves its way through the album.
Despite the fuller sound, the album retains Mann’s gentle intimacy. He has the gift of telling stories by humanising animals or bringing up a well of emotions through inanimate objects. Slay Me In My Sleep takes things further by telling one overarching story about a young thief that falls in love with his victim after seeing a photograph of her at a younger age. On closer inspection, the song titles are revealed as a single synopsis that fleshes out the delicate compositions. If Mann’s previous albums can be seen as him mastering the art of telling short stories, then Slay Me In My Sleep is his affecting full-length novel.
BY CHRIS GIRDLER
Best Track: He Raises Her Gently Into A Chair. She Tells Him How To Make A Sling For Her Arm Using A Tea Towel. As He Works She Marvels At His Face.
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: The Possum Wakes At Night OLIVER MANN, 1642-1727 GRAND SALVO
In A Word: Tender