At Swim Two Birds: Returning to the Scene of the Crime
Probably best known as one half of the Montgolfier Brothers, Roger Quigley is nothing short of a musical genius.
Operating in the shadowy basements of the Manchester music scene for over 10 years, Quigley has constructed a fine canon of paeans to the everyday world of love, loss, longing and all the B roads that run between the three.
At Swim Two Birds is in essence a solo project of Quigley’s (although on live outings additional musicians are brought in to augment the sound) and this album is basically a re-interpretation of some of his earlier recordings.
Having grown up with (and loved) most of the songs in their original state, it is a particularly interesting listen for yours truly, but taking this CD as a separate entity still makes for a stunning body of work.
The sombre, but intricate, arrangements compliment the mood of the lyrics perfectly as Quigley’s world weary tones transport you to bottom of a well-thumbed glass in the corner of an old hostelry. The reality of infidelity is perfectly unravelled in breath-taking opener, ‘In Bed With Your Best Friend’, a slowed down version of a single from 1999, before a couple of tracks from 96’s excellent 'Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year' EP are lovingly enhanced with remarkable results.
Elsewhere previously unreleased gems ‘Down By The Stream’ and ‘Wine Destroys The Memory’ beg the question why have they been locked in the vault for so long as a new warm richness in Quigley’s voice is showcased.
This wonderfully gritty and life-affirming collection is brought to a fine close with debut single ‘A Kind Of Loving’, which is beautifully re-worked as an almost swing version of the original. Different for sure, but losing none of the song’s brilliance.
If you have missed out on Quigley’s music so far, now is a chance to make amends. Buy this CD, pour yourself a large glass of red wine, turn the lights down low and enjoy.