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Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler - For All Our Days That Tear The Heart (Album Review)

Tuesday, 28 June 2022 Written by Jacob Brookman

Interesting one, this. ‘For All Our Days That Tear The Heart’ pairs the Oscar-nominated Irish actor Jessie Buckley with the former Suede guitarist and super-producer Bernard Butler. The result is a rich and ecstatic album of poise and resilience, demonstrating the tremendous singing voice that Buckley showcased in the film Wild Rose alongside complicated folk arrangements and deeply engaging lyrics.

It's generically tight but pleasingly varied listening. Footnotes On The Map is a prog-folk song that opens softly with guitar, double bass and strings and then swells gloriously. A mixed choir joins Buckley in call and response while string counter-melodies seemingly extemporise. As such, the track feels  exciting and accomplished, and would surely provide a tremendous finale to a live show.

That choir reappears on We’ve Run the Distance, a more poppy song that sits squarely within Celtic folk-rock and could probably fit into the repertoire of Scottish singer-songwriter Amy MacDonald.

As with much of the record, the lyrics are magnetic and heartfelt, and the storytelling undeniable: “Sometimes when it rains / My heart can not explain why we are broken / If only this is part of our story from the start / We've run the distance”. Let’s hope not.

This is an album that feels highly Hiberno-Celtic in its inception—Butler cites Irish roots in the album notes—and it feels natural to consider Hozier and (somewhat inevitably) Van Morrison when digesting this music. It is rich and varied storytelling with mystical elements and fantastic, ancient-sounding arrangements.

That said, the most striking tonal similarity of ‘For All Our Days That Tear The Heart’ is actually with the English singer Laura Marling. Buckley’s voice paired with acoustic guitar sounds fairly similar and the elevated folk stylings complete the sound. 

The arresting and possibly worrying thing for Marling is that this album is probably a bit more accessible, memorable and exciting than her work has been recently. You can see this music reaching places that Marling's does not. But perhaps let's not get ahead of ourselves—for now this is simply a fantastic and compelling collaboration.


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