BEAU –When Butterflies Scream (Cherry Red 2017)
Breaking beauty upon a wheel, British troubadour tunes into the times.
Within his album-a-year stretch of late, Trevor Midgley may not offer a lot of melodic variety, yet it’s not the 12-string guitar ringing that’s been luring the listener towards the veteran’s oeuvre for decades now – it’s his erudite interest to a variety of subjects given to poeticizing. There was irony in "An Original Thought" whose release was followed by many serious events; that’s why “When Butterflies Scream” seems to steer away from explicit satire. Of course, as an Englishman, Beau couldn’t help but comment on Brexit, addressing the rift in “Who Pays The Ferryman?” to open his democracy-debating song cycle with a well-posed question which would logically land on “The Nightmare” where U.S. elections are evoked, so the “sleepwalking into a parallel zone” line can be this record’s leitmotif.
Its title coming from “Gerrymander Street Blockade” that explores the obstacles of lies, from Berlin onward, there’s a lot of routes mapped out by the singer yet only a few are paved with optimism. Even the deceptively apolitical drift of “Smilin’ Billy Lye” is about fickle fame – note the context-enriching mention of The Wall and The Tunnel in this piece – while the choristers in “The Mandarin” deliver a devil’s, not angelic, message. Not for nothing the protagonist of “It’s Only Just Begun” all but says, “Please, allow me to introduce myself,” as hypocrites come in flocks there to turn the likes of “The Promise” to tragedy. Unfortunately, we have no shelter from such dramas, so we’re all to become a part of “The Illegal” – refugees to nowhere, destined to hear butterflies scream and not able to help them, or ourselves.
Perhaps, it’s the only time that Beau doesn’t offer a way out of the dark. Hopefully, by the time his next album is released, the gloom will have been lifted.