Darren Hayman And The Long Parliament‘s latest release ‘The Violence‘ continues his Essex trilogy (Pram Town and Essex Arms) and heads back to 17th century Essex where the Witch Trials held during the English Civil Wars resulted in 300 women being executed for witchcraft in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. Whilst the subject of the album is historical the theme of persecution of the weak and ‘outsiders’ speaks to a modern-day society.
“I have been drawn to my birthplace because it is both familiar and alien to me,” says Hayman. “Essex is so close to London yet so remote from it in many ways. I want to be both brutal and tender about the place in my songs.” “It’s easy to become trapped by your own tropes. I write easily about modernity and pepper my lyrics with slang, brand names and colloquialisms. I wanted to write about something in Essex’s past that spoke of its strangeness and also forced me to write in a language suitable for another period.”
The album clocks in at an epic 20 tracks, filled with off-kilter folk and pastoral songs which contain dark and often descriptive lyrics…”Who will tug on my ankles when I’m swinging?”…he sings on Elizabeth Clarke and “veins burst turn your skin purple, blue and yellow, why don’t you cry the breath out of our lungs” on the opening track The Violence. Whilst the upbeat paradoxial delivery may seem at odds with the songs it has the opposite effect, bringing a more shocking exposure, a reflection on a society that still persecutes the weak and those that exist outside societies norms…feeding and building on fears.
Of the album Hayman said “It’s about how violence frightens us and how fear just leads to greater violence,”…it is a stunning and potent album, Hayman demonstrates a mastery for storytelling as well as exposing societies fears and flaws. This is his best work to date!