The Miserable Rich – Of Flight and Fury

Posted on 20 September 2010 by Joe

Of Flight and Fury is the second album from Brighton’s The Miserable Rich and it picks up from where their excellent debut left off. Part of Brighton’s Willkommen Collective they are the most compact and focused of the bunch. Just five members and a lack of guest musicians marks them out from some of their sister acts.

Singer James De Malplaquet is like a more restrained Neil Hannon, his British upper middle class stylings seeming less affected than the Divine Comedy front man. He is brilliantly supported by the strings of William Callderbank and Mike Siddell, who, as members of The Leisure Society, The Sons of Noel and Adrian, Shoreline and more, must be the hardest working string section in Britain. The group is rounded off by former Clearlake guitarist Jim Briffett and the bass of Rhys Lovell.

Lyrically the songs move easily from classical references, ‘Pegasus’, to small town vignettes, ‘Somerhill’, to tales of debauched living, ‘Hungover’. At 45 minutes and 9 songs (plus instrumental interludes and one hidden track) it is a very well paced album that doesn’t outstay its welcome.

De Malplaquet is an excellent singer whose voice is capable of carrying the prettiness of the melodies as well as being theatrical when needed. He brings to mind a very British version of Beirut’s Zach Condon and the band back that up, although lacking the bombastic horns of the American act.

As a band they are possibly too folksy and whimsical for the tastes of some, but to the more open minded listener it is a pretty exceptional record. It is a charming record that demands repeated listening and is one of the best albums released by a British act this year.

9/10

By Dorian Rogers, June 2010

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