Editor's Rating

'Ascent of Ascended' is ultimately an absolutely delightful musical coda to the strangest of years, and a tribute to the endless creative force that is Tim Burgess. An angel indeed.

8.4
Bella Union

It has been amazing year for Tim Burgess – a rare species that has bloomed under the claustrophobia of COVID and provided an endless source of entertainment and education through his twitter parties and his solo album ‘I Love the New Sky’ (reviewed by me in May). His creativity is boundless – so much so that he has released an EP to add to the list.

‘Ascent of the Ascended’ contains two new tracks that were written immediately after after the album was released as well as some live recordings of tracks from I Love The New Sky and the iconic Charlatans song ‘The Only One I Know’.

Overall, it is a delightful package of whimsy. Melodic creations delivered in a simple and sparse style that are infused with a sense of hope and optimism, an almost childish delight in the world around us.

The title track has all the exuberance and delights you would expect from Burgess – layers of vocals, lashes of melancholia and a pastoral, bucolic air. The accompanying video, directed by Tim Pope, captures the general wistful air of the song, with Burgess as a fallen angel, earth bound and soaring:

It is Burgess’s ear for melody that shines again: differing movements throughout the song, building up and crashing, filled with a naive playfullness and joi de vivre.

The Ascent of the Ascended – it’s about where we want to be, compared to where we find ourselves and how to bridge that gap. I sent the song to Tim Pope and he said he’d be up for making a video, his ideas really captured the atmosphere. It was quite a moment for me – I am a huge fan of Tim’s. Plus I got to fly and have a set of wings

Second track, ‘Yours. To Be’ is a beautifully expressed and romantic love song: elegiac and perfectly formed with an open honesty and directness in the lyrics – oooh what a feeling, to be yours. It is achingly beautiful.

The Paste Sessions form the rest of the EP – recorded in NYC back in March as a live session for Paste Magazine. Three of the tracks are from ‘I Love The New Sky’ alongside a new version of The Charlatan’s classic ‘The Only One I Know’.

There was an energy that came from recording the album with such a brilliant band – I didn’t want it to end, I wanted to record a bit of a magnum opus, which is where Ascent of the Ascended came in. I’d always wanted to work with Charles Hayward from This Heat, so we have him a ring and he said yeah. With “Yours. To Be” being almost like an instant feeling you get in a moment, very rarely in your life – the two songs are so different but they somehow complement each other. So an EP was the perfect idea. We had so many plans for playing live this year – from South by Southwest to Glastonbury and everything in between. But that wasn’t to be. We played four shows in New York before lockdown happened – so our session for Paste Magazine was such a rare event, we’ve included the songs to complete the EP.”

The versions of the tracks are wonderful – sung with the barest of instrumentation in an almost gospel style with a touch of meandering jazz and a freshness that is endearing.

‘Ascent of Ascended’ is ultimately an absolutely delightful musical coda to the strangest of years, and a tribute to the endless creative force that is Tim Burgess. An angel indeed.

You can download/stream the EP here.

Burgess is touring next year – be quick as they are selling out fast:

APRIL 2021 UK TOUR DATES:

4/13/2021 – Dublin – Whelans (SOLD-OUT!)
4/14/2021 – Belfast – Ulster Sports Club
4/16/2021 – Manchester – Night & Day (SOLD-OUT!)
4/17/2021 – Leeds – Brudenell Social Club (SOLD-OUT!)
4/18/2021 -Manchester – Yes [Matinee show] (SOLD-OUT!)
4/18/2021 – Manchester – Yes [Evening show] (SOLD-OUT!)
4/20/2021- Kendal – Brewery
4/21/2021 – Glasgow – King Tuts (SOLD-OUT!)
4/23/2021- Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
4/24/2021 – Cardiff – Clwb Ifor Bach
4/25/2021l – Bristol – Thekla (SOLD-OUT!)
4/27/2021 – Birmingham – Hare and Hounds (SOLD-OUT!)
4/28/2021 – London – Oslo (SOLD-OUT!)
4/29/2021l – Portsmouth – Wedgwood Rooms

Feature Photograph: Nik Void