Foolish Deep Release “Live Sessions”
Musical storytelling is a highly delicate art. While it’s easy to reflect and revel in the sentiments and sounds of music, it’s a herculean task to actively tell an arresting narrative that entertains as well as shows off the point of view of the singer. Foolish Deep’s music has always walked a fine balance between the two, but somehow with their latest album “Live Sessions”, a collection of unfiltered live renditions of some of their biggest hits, their narrative capabilities are almost amplified.
Take for example “Looking for the Moon ” the album’s opener that also carries the same weight as 80s jams like “Running Up the Hill ” by Kate Bush, as it crafts a distinct point of view of living in a box surrounded by a larger wall. Using lines that mention things like an overwhelming cityscape that it’s hard to see the stars, it’s not hard to immediately sympathize with the narrator, who leads singer Caspar Madaus-Bruck imbues with so much lived experience. The band was formed in California, which can admittedly be a very lonely place especially in LA, so anyone who’s lived there will certainly connect. The song also has the structural and instrumental components of peak era Sting and the Police songs, an unmistakable influence in many ways that will creep up again both vocally with its exaggerated but memorable swagger from Caspar, but from his backing bandmates as well. One of the best ways to describe the album is human, as you can even hear the little imperfect moments that make a live album so endearing, as well as the strong storytelling. The kind of black sheep (but a lovely one still) is the group’s cover of Everybody Wants to Rule the World.
The band certainly bring a flavor all their own to it, and Caspar’s voice lends itself perfectly as a successor of Curt Smith, but in some ways I wish it pushed things even further the way that something like the album’s closer “Stranger” does. “Stranger” packs a wallop as the albums extend closer. Kicking off with a cool and crisp opening, and lines like “The pain holds me close”, “I’ve gotta get off the grid” and “I feel so small today”, it’s almost revelatory and meta that the band can craft a song with a line like “laughing at a sad song” and almost create the same effect with a song whose back end teems with so much life and emotion, that’s a sharp juxtaposition from the opening that revels in sorrow. The album is very romantic, but almost gothic-like in nature. Back to backers like “Never on Her Feet” and “One More Shot” describe the complexities of an aloof love that despite not being healthy, is nonetheless desirable in its imperfection.
Some people might be put off by the live aspects as I know some people seem arbitrarily opposed to, but given the chance it’s a deeply moving and emotional experience and truly one of the best albums to come out this year.