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Harry Stafford and Marco Butcher - Walk Among The Spectres (Black Lagoon Records)

16 August 2023

By his own admission, even seasoned artists like Harry Stafford often need someone to shake them up a bit. By walking some genuinely adventurous, creative, brave, and alternative musical paths, Stafford has explored music-making across a broad spectrum of sounds and styles. But, no matter how far you have come, there is always somewhere new to go, always a unique sound to capture, idea to pursue, or attitude to embrace; you just need a suitable catalyst to show you the way. In this instance, Marco Butcher seems to be just what the groove doctor ordered.

This isn’t their first collaboration; in fact, there is a whole album of their joint work called Bone Architecture, for you to peruse. So do that now and then give “Walk Among The Spectures” a spin in preparation for their new full-length release, We Are The Perilous Men.

Do so, and you will see that this first taster of what’s to come carries on perfectly where that previous album left off. You will love the rolling, strolling energy and rumble of the walking bass line, the swing and swagger of the backbeat, the staccato stabs of the organ, the alternative, New Orleans infused dance groove, and the raw, nostalgic twang of the guitars.

Given that the lyrics and video tell a story of someone visiting the grave of an old friend to lay upon it an offering, in this case, a small electric piano, makes this a delightful dance dirge, a glorious gothic groover, and a beatific bluesy blast all rolled into one.

Taken separately, Stafford and Butcher are fine musicians; when found working together, they are unstoppable.

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