Firstly, the facts. "Hung Drawn & Quartered" is the third album from Bitter Ruin. Bitter Ruin are Ben Richards and Georgia Train. What follows is less factual and more opinion. Less a proper critique and more a reflection on what the music made me feel.
This album is no easy listen. You can't just play it in the background and it would probably make your head fall off if you played it on the godless communism that is an iPod. You see, this is theatre. An exposition of the malevolence found in the human soul, if you like. Or a collision between fairytales and Brecht. What else could explain the wondrously melodramatic voice of Georgia Train or Ben Richard's staunch leading man to her diva-esque persona?
Vengeance was always going to be on the agenda, lyric wise. That's no surprise and "Chewing Gum" shows that very act and its consequent descent into madness as if it were the soundtrack to a flickering black and white movie from the days before sound. "Soundproof" fills the air with de-keyed words of the wisdom on consequence with Ben and Georgia alternating vocals like some modern day Johnny and June running into the devil's arms on Highway 666.
Delivering Amanda Palmer levels of black stallion drawn drama comes easy to this duo as they turn their attention to false gods and tortured souls in "Stand To Attention" twisting words and music into a Spanish flavoured maelstrom of emotion. Yet, there's even something a bit mainstream hidden away at the end with the quirky and eminently memorable "Outrageous" but even that is delivered with a degree of intensity that makes wearing a flak jacket advisable. There is always darkness to be found in the soul but there is always light to be found on stage (and that pretty much sums up this album).
"Hung Drawn & Quartered" won't be to everyone's taste and it isn't without its flaws but Bitter Ruin burn with an intensity that makes most other bands look like damp squibs. Is it art? Most certainly.