Raw passion is the underlying spirit that bursts through on the second of Simon Townshend’s former USA Only releases, Denial. An album that in its entirety examines addictions – personal and witnessed – this is a musical statement with balls and introspection that is never burdened by laconic remorse or the chest thumping, patronising braggadocio of one who knows better simply because they have been there.
Heal is the perfect example of this. “She’s been sad, because I’ve been bad” might sound like a simplistic rhyming couplet. Yet when taken in the proper context of the whole, the line sums up with perfect symmetry the selfishness addiction imposes on others. The lyrics are deeply personal, cut to the quick and say a lot more about Simon Townshend’s honesty and integrity than a thousand interview or therapy session reports ever could.
Musically, too, there is much to admire on Denial. Like all great poetry, the songs come “from the moment”, so a lack of dilution in the pain and regret not only comes across through the words, but also via the urgency displayed in their musical backing. That Tony Lowe’s guitar adds depth is undeniable, but it is the powerhouse drumming of Mark Brzezicki and Greg Pringle (tracks 1 and 10) that provides the necessary rage.
This truly ignites tracks such as Leaving This Town, but on Bare Essence – arguably the most complete track that’s featured and, as such, the one that stands out as the strongest – his playing almost becomes a voice on its own such is the anger that is being controlled.
With 11 absolutely magnificent compositions – plus 2 delightfully built bonus tracks in Inspiration and Meet In A Dream, along with sleeve notes supplied by brother Pete – Denial is an outstanding piece of work that serves to inspire and inform in equal measures.
All So Real
Leaving This Town
Won’t Let Go
Meet in a Dream (Bonus)
Label: Stir Records
Release date: 14th October, 2016