Last year, Napier released VIP: Very Interesting Persons (read our review here), an album of songs about 10 real life characters and the lives they led, among them actress Hedy Lamarr, baseball legend Mickey Mantle and George C. Parker, the conman who sold Brooklyn Bridge several times to gullible immigrants. However, there were some left over at the end of the recordings, and it’s these which, again produced by and featuring Boo Hewardine, make up this five track EP.
Harry Houdini’s the first up, the subject of the waltzing, music hall styled How Will You Escape, a musing on the dangers of being trapped by celebrity status backed by piano and Hewardine on ukulele. Accompanied by slide guitar, Princess Rosanna Drowned In The Clyde, the first of two songs inspired by Glasgow’s East End where Napier lived for 13 years, stems from both graffiti underneath Jamaica Bridge and speculation as to whether she was pushed or fell and a mountain top in northern Scotland named for an unmarried who committed suicide after giving birth and was refused burial in a cemetery. The second is the slow swaying 52DES (originally released as the B side of The Man Who Sold New York), the country-folk strolling tale of a council estate n’er do well and the EP stays in Glasgow for After The Last Bell Rings, a song, not about a person, but rather Bar Bloc, a noted musical watering hole delivered in a Proclaimers-like closing time singalong.
Written by Hewardine, again on ukulele and also featuring Gustaf Ljunggren on clarinet and violin, the last and best number, the five minute Showfolk, a bittersweet backstage tale of love and heartbreak, was inspired by a 1930s Pathe newsreel about Fred Roper’s Wonder Midgets Show. Apparently, Napier and Hewardine wrote 28 songs for the original album, so that leaves a further 13 unaccounted for. So, how about it lads?
Review by: Mike Davies
Very Interesting Extras is released 19th February and can be ordered via Bandcamp here: findlaynapier.bandcamp.com
Findlay Napier is touring in February and March, see dates below.