The Miserable Rich - Miss You In The Days
It's no accident that The Miserable Rich's third album is released on All Hallows' Eve. Miss You In The Days, the follow-up to the equally impressive Of Flight And Fury, is a collection of ghost stories told in the band's distinct chamber pop style. Recorded in the attic of a haunted pub in the grounds of Blickling Hall, the stately home where Anne Boleyn's headless ghost is still said to roam, this album's ghostly theme is so prevalent that it's a surprise Yvette Fielding doesn't have a cameo. However, not to worry if you're a scaredy-cat; despite its macabre subject matter, Miss You In The Days is by turns playful, eloquent and sweepingly romantic, making it a preferred alternative to a Paranormal Activity marathon.
If the album's front cover establishes the album's assorted cast of wandering and wistful ghosts, then opener 'Laid Up In Lavender' sets the musical tone. Piano and strings (primarily cello and violin) are at the forefront throughout the record, with restless drums, phantom backing chants and guitar haunting the album's more expansive tracks. Lead singer James de Malplaquet is our guide through this tapestry of lost souls, excelling in guises ranging from haunted lover, trapped spirit and tricksy poltergeist. Despite touching on themes of grief and longing, it's not a depressing listen - indeed, the word 'jaunty' might even be employed to describe the more upbeat 'music hall' takes that Duke Special fans are likely to enjoy. The orchestral nature of the music means there are also moments that touch upon epic, notably 'Honesty' and fitting finale 'True Love'.
Lyrics from 'Ringing The Changes', a lovely, lush ballad that begins as a simple piano ballad then builds into a dynamic tour de force, perfectly capture the paradox at the heart of the Brighton quintet's third album: "From a black circumstance to the broad daylight," croons Malplaquet, followed by "Marching together into hell and bad weather / Take me there with you"; despite a darkness at its core, this is music that greets doom and the supernatural with a warm embrace and a heartfelt, lingering kiss. Current single 'On A Certain Night' is the standout, a tale of possession not lacking in wit ("Everybody knows this house is mine / And whatever else I find inside / Everyone's an open door / And possession is nine-tenths of the law") that sounds like it would be The Corpse Bride's choice for first dance. By the time the album's creepy, barebones death rattle 'In The Attic' lays the band's ghosts to rest, you'll have been spooked but you'll feel enlivened and inspired rather than, well, dead.