Interesting. Not many albums come with a foreword by a real archbishop. At least, I assume that it is a real archbishop as impersonating an archbishop is probably a criminal offence but when Rev Simpkins turns out to be an actual priest then I was forced to wonder if “Big Sea” could, in fact, be some sort of gospel album.
Not so. For, while “Big Sea” resonates to the sound of redemption, it is pleasingly infused with far more in the way of exported anger than the anodyne sentiments normally associated with tank top wearing praise to the Lord. The Rev Simpkins and his Phantom Notes cohorts are indeed on a journey to the light but it is a journey powered by poetic poise and psychedelic folk influences and, while the emotions expressed creak and sway like a sailing ship in a storm, there is always, and I mean always, light on the horizon.
“Big Sea” will therefore likely be too much for your average fey folk music fan overdosing on tales of boats that left from Liverpool. Does that really matter though? It does not for, like all good things, this album is food for both mind and heart and, as Rev Simpkins and his Phantom Notes successfully shine their collective light upon the darkness, it becomes daylight clear that we all have a soundtrack that will always be with us no matter where we walk.
“Big Sea” is Rev Simpkin’s soundtrack and we can all hear it. You better believe it.
Available from Bandcamp.