“Diptych” by The Classical was one of my favourite albums of last year. Except it came out in 2014. Last year’s re-release of sorts came with a gorgeous limited edition run featuring handmade packaging and artwork. After joining Aberdeen’s growing legion of ex-offshore oil and gas workers I had to pass on it, though I’ll be sure to catch the 10th anniversary box set.
“My Affection” is the first new material from the project of Juliet E. Gordon, a California-based artist determined to create potential Bond themes in the style of latter-day Scott Walker. Much of the musical left turns and jerking eruptions of “Diptych” have been jettisoned in favour of a more streamlined sound. Well, as streamlined as Gordon is capable of. A lurching, piano based groove is accompanied by stabs of distress signal guitar. This leads to a swollen chorus of near-operatic drama. And this is the key element of The Classical’s music; the Drama. In an era of disposable music consumed passively, Gordon takes herself and her art seriously, possibly too seriously. And it’s intoxicating, like no one else since maybe Amanda Palmer. She even mentions herself in the song at one point, leaving no doubt as to the high personal stakes involved.
The video for the track is filmed on a real life submarine, seeing Gordon join Cher in the exclusive club of pop stars to to sing of the end of a relationship while aboard an armed vessel. However, this is a world away from 80’s excess, instead featuring imagery of guns, explosions of colour and Gordon singing to herself in front of a mirror. Images of pink gun smoke underwater recall some of the opening sequences of the more recent Bond films, which musically this track would fit into. It would be better than the recent Sam Smith yawn fest but that’s hardly a compliment. This is a gorgeous track that needs to be seen with the video.
The single is backed with a remix of “Diptych” single ‘Shovel and Bevel‘ by electronic producer Love Letters. An already left field piece of music is ripped apart, thrown in a blender then reassembled in the form of a pounding beast, recognisable only due to snatches of Juliet E. Gordon’s coy vocals. Listen to it here.
“My Affection” and the Love Letters remix are available on Bandcamp.