Review Archive

‘Day Before the War’ by Ian Rooke - simple compositions that make the point strike home

(August 17, 2014)

Ian Rooke sent us an EP, then another arrived a few days later, same artist different Day Before the War - Ian Rookesongs. Never heard the man before and then two EPs arrive in quick succession. ‘Day Before the War’ is less personal and more accessible than its fellow. Its wider narratives work through and around subject of war - without really covering the usual subjects of battles fought and young men leaving to fight – these tales explore finding and losing faith, depths of despair and endurance of hope.

With similar deep-seated, almost aching vocals and another proliferation of hooks, it achieves its objective, assuming that's to make us think. The title track, ‘Day Before the War’ certainly does, harking back to a better time, the songs thenmove through other memories until it reaches the ‘Worst of Times’ to reveal a modern reflection of abject horror. These songs are simple unadorned compositions with lone voice and guitar -  a simplicity the subject matter deserves.

Currently, thoughts of war are high in collective minds, from recalling high hopes, comradeship and ultimately pointless waste of WWI to the fact we remain surrounded by seemingly endless civil wars and international conflict. Perhaps, if more people started to write about it than indulge in it we might effect a change. This is possibly an infinitesimally tiny example of that wish.

Reviewer: Charlie Elland

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