Battle Hymns Tales From An Every Day Frontline
by UK writer and musician Dar.Ra
Track by Track guide
Battle Hymns is a collection of songs written by UK writer and musician Dar.Ra , taken from various album and EP releases from the past 4 years. The songs go back further than that and actually chart from 2002 to 2014 making it a best of that period.
If your not fully aquatinted with my work, then you will find a source of music that is rich in text as well as harmony, keeping the spirit of a golden age British and American music alive.
The tracks as they happen!
The album kicks off with a song from the EP Now Is Now titled You Kill Me written in the UK around 2008 and based on the films main female character in the Betty Blue film starring the amazing Beatrice Dalle. It deals with the crazed relationship that keeps on fuelling more unhealthy behaviour, a subject well documented by the psychologists of the world and this tracks serves the same master. The thing about these relationships is that when your in them you know it is wrong, but you cannot help getting caught up in them. Like sinking sand it will keep dragging you back until you either drown or someone saves you.
Start Again is pretty much what it says on the tin, breaking through demons and illusions that ruin your life until someone hopefully can switch a light on an say it is just a dream, nothing to fear, some of us are lucky in life and get the chance to Start Again, others are not and do not make it through the twists and turns that this journey throws at us. Written in Auckland NZ back in 2002, while touring Down Under, it was a lucrative time for being creative. I had come back to the UK with a bag of tunes for my first debut album Soul Hours and a half written book called Road Tales which is soon to be released.
'Wolverine', written in the UK in a place called Tenterden in Kent while hanging out in suburban bliss, where mothers jog in the park with the prams, then rush off in their oversized 4 x 4's to have lunch to talk about how well their husbands are doing in the city. The perfect lifestyle, every thing planned with no room for the unexpected. Mmm! What if you could turn into a wolf or 'Wolverine' and escape the boredom.
'Pressure', follows the lack of being able to escape that easily, although this one was written further back in 2005 and was originally released on the Soul Hours album in 2008. Back in the UK and living with family for a short period was like living in a pressure cooker. However old you are, families never let you grow up. You are always the younger sibling or older one and those roles never change. Imagine a Christmas day that goes on for longer than a day, everyone picking apart the holes that made you insecure in the first place, and for some reason you just let it eat you away, until you either crack up, leave or maybe even both.
'Red White And Blue', was written in a basement in Vancouver during the summer of 2007, while flags were flying and boys were dying in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan. Out on a musical excursion to North America the 'War On Terror' was in full swing, the fear was being sold, and we were buying it in the truck load. Although, while the flags fluttered in the wind, someone was burying their son, brother or daughter, as a result of this new sleeping giant that we had awoken. We all know silently what the history books will write about this new fear of each other.
'Shadow Of The Sun', takes me back to Australia on the 2001-02 run, endless summer and endless adventures, with someone who could take you out of the ordinary world and into the Shadow Of Sun, a place where you could be whoever you wanted to be, and breath the air of freedom away from other people expectations.
Mixing my favourite flavours and reggae baselines, soulful James Brown drum-lines, rock guitars and soulful vocals is pretty the blue print for everything I do.
I am hoping that this album isn't sounding like a travelog, but I get most of my ideas from being out on the road and the next track on this collection titled 'Girl Like You', was penned while lying on a bed in a hotel room in Venice, smashed on brandy to numb the pain, from having the worst toothache I have ever suffered. Image being stabbed in the face and you'd be close, it was beyond anything I had felt. I just laid on that bed for days after landing, not knowing where I was, watching Italian Music TV and seeing some of the most amazing looking girls in the world. I imagined for moments what it would be like to be, in a girl like that's, world. The lyrics have references to Venice The Bridge Of Sighs and walking down the backstreets in the city of lovers, only this boy doesn't get the girl. Its a homage to the city of lovers.
Kenetic is one of the most recent tracks, written in the UK while living deep in the countryside of Sussex a last post of sanity, where you can feel what England was like before it went into meltdown and became a clone state of its now overbearing offspring. It sees a changing mindset and landscape, during the economic austerity shakedown. As a result, people have become more aggressive as the survival instincts kick in, and the words 'everyman for himself' ring out from the mouths of the majority. Its about finding a way through this minefield, with like-minded people who still believe in the beauty of life and humanity.
Safe In Your Arms goes back to a trip out to the Island of Majorca in off the coast of Spain in 2007. The island is incredible with its laid-back lifestyle, a writers paradise, as Robert Graves found when he lived in the mountains just north of Palma in a place called Deia. Despite this amazing setting, I was feeling a longing for someone who I was beginning to get close to, that added with the space between us made me feel that longing for home. The song is a depiction of being away from everything that makes you feel safe and secure.
Firefly brings us to the end of this part of the musical journey and takes its light from the stories I have heard about soldiers becoming numb to their experiences in the zone. The very word soldier takes its name from being sold into something that is beyond your control. The game that the elite play with the rest of society to aid their lust for resources and power. The words and lies which are feed through the machine and repeated over and over again until we all become numb to the reality. I felt the need to pay homage to those people who go out to do someone else's dirty work, get used and never thanked beyond a piece of metal hanging round their necks, if they are lucky. I doubt we will ever see peace in our lifetime but I guess we can always pray!
Battle Hymns is out now on Kusha Deep Records and across the digital highway
for more info have a wander over to www.kushadeep.co.uk.
Thanks for listening