'Come Down to Us'
Rival Dealer EP
I have been a fan of Burial since the self titled first album in 2006.
Each successive release has been a wonderful thing, something special to share with music friends.
Every once in a while, there is an artist that we all agree is brilliant.
It is rare that it is someone contemporary.
That has been one of the great things with Burial.
Each release has been an event that has made for discussion.
Urgent discussions take place regarding the place in the canon the new release will take.
Rival Dealer has only been out for a week or so, and those discussions are taking place.
It reminds me how much I love music, how it can bring people together, how it can open up new areas of thought and feeling within a group of friends.
This is the first major change in the Burial catalogue.
Each previous release has engaged and progressed in a similar soundworld.
Progressing, like giving the same scenery more detail.
Think of Truant / Rough Sleeper (2012): here Burial experimented with form and structure, a more longing gaze on the same territories as previous works.
With Burial up to now, we have been with him in South London, walking with him down rainy streets in the evening, the harshness of modern life given a gentle, dusty, melancholic glow that is both inviting and frightening.
That has been his genius: to portray the world he sees both honestly and romantically.
The track 'Come Down to Us' is in a different realm, particularly the second half of the track.
Where previous tracks had a feeling of dejected contendedness, now we are confronted with something new: unadulterated hope.
This is not a naive hope or a bland happiness; it is hope in it's purest form.
It hope that has been hard won.
It is the hope that comes from being in darkness.
It is hope that is real and obtainable.
Yesterday afternoon, I listened to 'Come Down to Us' in the church where I work.
I was alone. I sat in a pew in the middle of the empty church. It was a beautiful experience.
To me, the hope that is in the track is the same hope the Christian faith operates in.
The hope that Christians have in the coming Kingdom of God, to me, feels like the same hope that is expressed in the second part of 'Come Down to Us.'
Furthermore, it is the Season of Advent in the church, a time when we wait and prepare for the Coming Christ at Christmas.
This is a penetential time: hope is within and approaching.
Advent is a time when Christians express their longing for Christ's return.
Come down to us, indeed.
There is something else at play with 'Come Down to Us.'
Burial's work has always worked in the realm of nostalgia and longing.
Here it hits a deeper spot.
There is something 80's about the sound. For a 40 odd year old like myself, I am transported back to there. I am hearing 'Never Ending Story' as a kid. The same hopes I had as a kid are present in 'Come Down to Us.' The feeling that there was everything to look forward to and the whole world was open.
That is the hope of childhood.
'Come Down to Us' hits that same spot, but as an adult.
As an adult it is hard to have hope sometimes, so when we are nostalgic it will often go to those hopeful memories.
The brillance of 'Come Down to Us' is that it works on both realms: the nostalgic hope of childhood and the hope that has been hard won.
Hope is rare thing.
It seems as if everything conspires against anyone actually having any hope.
Personally, the greatest hope that I have is found in the Christian faith.
'Come Down to Us' is the piece of music that expresses that same hope in a most wonderful and accurate way.