Wayne Hussey & The Divine – ‘Live At Yellow Arch’. Recorded over 2 days – 31st October and 1st November – during the rehearsals for the one-off show at Whitby, the album comes in CD and limited clear vinyl. with the CD having more tracks.
An incredible group of musicians along with Hussey has produced a mesmerising interpretation of some of the best tracks from The Mission back catalogue but also something new from the recent ‘Beauty in Chaos’ release, a song that Wayne wrote in the 1970s, and a version of Mazzy Star’s ‘Look On Down From The Bridge’.
Wayne said Working with The Divine was one of the musical highlights of his life. Something he might well revisit in the future. To be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting here, as I saw the tracklist there were songs I love that had been chosen and was certainly interested in hearing how they interpreted them but I can honestly hand on heart say I never expected them to sound quite so stunning.
I’ve long since admired Hussey and his music following the Sisters and then the Mission and collecting everything he’s ever recorded so I guess a bit of a fanboy if you like seeing him live many times over the years but I have also been critical along the way of what I thought didn’t work on times (very few I might add) and happy to hear what did.
These recordings came for the rehearsals for the Goth festival in Whitby and in True Mission-style Hussy invited some fans along for the rehearsals and had the foresight to record what took place in front of the thirty or so onlookers over those two nights in Sheffield.
live, no overdubs, no going back to fix ‘things’ as you can hear when the lyrics go wrong on a couple of songs. (Nothing new there then.) It’s all about the performance. For Hussey to suggest these songs would touch the listener in a way the originals didn’t is very astute because he was right on the money there.
The musical arrangements are nothing short of genius and interpretations stunning what the add and what to leave out is quite magical and you almost want to stop breathing so as not to miss one second of what’s going on. It must have been awesome to witness this happening let alone playing on it.
It’s a simple concept of a small ensemble of strings, percussion, a piano and guitar with a few voices t pull it all together. But don’t be fooled its as much about what gets left out as what you put in with the heartbreaking violin solo on the opening ‘Look On Down From The Bridge’ and the softly sung vocal its truly stunning from that opening drum shuffle. Of The Mish tunes songs like ‘Never Again’ are reborn as is the beautiful ‘Like A Child Again’ but the ones that are changed the most like ‘Crystal Ocean’ is where the gold lies. It must have taken forever to trawl through such a catalogue of songs to find what would work and to get it quite so spot on over all fourteen songs is extraordinary.
Of the more recent Mission songs ‘Swan Song’ is stripped bare maybe a more traditional interpretation but none the less dramatic in its delivery. Of course ‘Tower Of Strength’ is still epic it always was and always will be but the violin here is brilliant but it is overshadowed by the delivery of ‘Forevermore’. A diamond of a record all fans of Hussey’s work need to hear this. I am well aware that I’ve showered it in superlatives but hell, it deserves it. Uplifting and inspiring. there’s always room in the world for light and shade and this is going to be a staple of relaxation and calm and stunning music by a genuine talent whos delivered over many decades and continues to do so.
If you do want to do this again Wayne you can bring the divine round my house and do it all again it would be a pleasure and I’d even chill the blue nun.
Buy ‘Live At Yellow Arch’ Here
Author: Dom Daley