Let’s get one thing straight before we go any further â€“ I had not heard of Ed Hale or The Transcendence before CUTA editor Matt passed me this album with a glint in his eye. I make this statement because by the time you finish reading this review, I’m hoping that your never having heard of them either won’t stop you from giving this cracking album a go. Because that’s what it is â€“ a cracking album. I mean, sure, there’s a lot going on, and it’s a little bit nuts, but since the fateful day when Matt handed it over, I haven’t stopped listening to it. I’m listening to it now, while I write this review. It’s intriguing, addictive, maddening, impossible to pin down…yeah. Like I said.
So who is Ed Hale then? Well the PR write up describes him as ‘writer, musician, activist, populist blogger, controversial YouTube star and general raconteur.’ Whoever he is (and he seems as difficult to pin down as the music is â€“ but I’m getting to that!), the album he and his band have put together certainly suggests that he has the ability to mix it with the big boys. The album is sprawling, epic and unafraid, and addresses some pretty strong themes: notably in Blind Eye, a track in which he vehemently whispers about the things he hates, ‘â€œMurder Greed Destruction Exploitation Rape Sex and Violence/Take your money Take your money Take your money’ â€“ this last apparently directed at the lying, scheming politicians the world is stuck with at the moment. Counter-balancing this dark protest song comes the gorgeously anthemic Solaris â€“ a beautiful piano based tribute to his late friend Julia.
This should give you some indication of the sweeps, twists and turns available on this gem of an album â€“ and it’s that very diversity that makes it so bloody brilliant. There’s so much on it that there’s bound to be something you like, and it somehow manages to sound like some of the greatest bands of all time without being a tatty rip-off. This album sounds like something you found in your Dad’s record collection, and then kicked him in the shins for never telling you about it. There’s echoes of Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Bowie, The Rolling Stones, U2… the music is complex (sometimes in a slightly mind-melting way) and beautifully constructed, and elegantly put together. The voice is unique, and somehow familiar. If you like any of the artists listed above, please, please, for the love of God…check out ‘All Your Heroes Become Villians.’