Friday, October 13, 2006

Hellfire Sermons

And then there were three. The White Noise Revisited family grows bigger and stronger with another addition to the scribbling team. After undergoing a rigorous and often humiliating selection procedure which culminated in a knife fight with monkeys in a Chinese laundry, Domino Jones emerged bloodied and victorious. So here he is, armed with a water pistol full of word juice and a vast brain made of pure music. Read on and weep…

Hellfire Sermons - H.O.N.E.Y.M.O.O.N.

“Saw her face in the window, it looks quite strange”

So begins ‘H.O.N.E.Y.M.O.O.N’ by The Hellfire Sermons and it’s one of the best first lines mother pop ever hurled my way. The way it’s sang as well; with the punctuation coming after ‘face’ giving it a double meaning “In the window it looks quite strange” as if it were the sand, calcium and sodium silicate of the glass that were twisting her features so. It reminds me of a Camus novel with their perpetual empty streets, where a face at a window is like a portent of unfolding destiny, something that is disquieting, disturbing even, like the incessant guitar line that tugs at your sleeve throughout the verse before skipping off into the chorus accentuating the 5/4 time signature, clattering across the cobbles like a fucked wheelbarrow as the harmonies rise to meet it.

A different take on Rodgers and Hart’s ‘My Funny Valentine’ and the ‘beauty/eye/beholder’ chestnut, ‘H.O.N.E.Y.M.O.O.N’ is about falling for a girl who for once, doesn’t look like she’s slipped through the staples of a fashion magazine.

“She’s handsome, handsome to me,
With her cauliflower ears
And her physical fears”

Physical fears? Is that a fear of the physical or a physically manifested fear? There are so many pictures in this song, I do tend to think visually anyway but this takes me somewhere every time and it’s so immutably Liverpool. It’s almost a blueprint for The Coral, released as it was back in 1989. I first heard it on John Peel’s show and immediately walked down to Probe Records to buy a copy. Whenever I’ve done anything on the radio, be it the old Xfm or The Evening Session I always played it, or talked about it or both.

Whenever I put it on somebody always says, right on the first chorus “What’s this?” Moreover, they don’t always understand when I tell them how much I love it. Where are the explosions? The soaring strings? The dizzying electronica or mind blowing production? Well, who needs that when you can have this? All I’ve ever wanted from pop music is here, swirling around at two minute and seventeen seconds inside a shimmering box of fractured urchin imagery.

Hellfire Sermons website
Buy Hellfire Sermons at the Bus Stop label shop
Hellfire Sermons My Space
Hellfire Sermons at

Domino Jones.