We at Owd Scrat are very proud to present our first full length LP, in beautiful transparent ectoplasm coloured vinyl and CD digipack, which is also the first by Liverpool UK based musician/artist/writer Paul Rooney under his own (full) name. Following on (though ten years later) from his acclaimed 2007 single Lucy Over Lancashire – a dub folklore epic narrated by a Satanic Lancastrian sprite – this long awaited album delves even further into the demonically possessed everyday. It is an album of revenant songs, in which various dead people return from beyond the grave to visit their lover, play poker or haunt a toilet seat. The record features many collaborators including actor Gregory Cox, mesmerizing ethereal harmonisers Lutine, and has a cover image by artist Leo Fitzmaurice.
The narrative song lyrics range from unjustly wronged music hall ghosts (Sunday Best, Father's Grave), or lost souls stranded on tour buses (Lost High Street), or stuck inside trumpets (Spit Valve), to a child's voice from a film soundtrack come to restless, spectral life (Black Ear). The album's stories recall darkly comic absurdist writers like Barthelme, Beckett or O'Brien (Flann), married to a kind of post-punk dub synth-folk. The result is gloriously unique. How about Ivor Cutler collaborating with Xiu Xiu on the soundtrack to a low budget folk-horror about stoats? Robert Ashley creating a music hall song-cycle about breath condensation with This Heat? As these comparisons reveal, this album is both hard to describe, absolutely distinct, and bloody great. And thank the undead for that.
The Wire Magazine online preview of the record here: goo.gl/zj87nf
"Futile Exorcise, the brilliant new album from Liverpudlian multimedia artist Rooney... a record to return to again and again." Julian Cowley, (The Wire Magazine). June 2017.
"I'm not terribly adept at unqualified outlandish statements of praise so forgive me if this sounds clumsy: this is the most extraordinary album I've heard in at least seven years, and probably for much longer than that... It's a work to be absorbed, laughed at, unsettled by but, above all, enjoyed over and over again." Mark Whitby (Unwashed Territories blog). 14/5/17.
"I'm really, really chuffed to be able to tell you that Paul Rooney has not only returned, he has returned with a full length album... There's a lot of great stuff on there, the album's called Futile Exorcise... That's just amazing stuff, fantastic to have Paul Rooney back with us." Pete Jackson (Dandelion Radio). May 2017.
"...you may well not hear a better song than this [Lost High Street] throughout the whole of 2017... probably my favourite album for several years." Mark Whitby (Dandelion Radio). May 2017.
"I think there is a slylistic integrity between [Lucy Over Lancashire] and that one. You can see. You listen to it and you say: that's Paul Rooney that." Steve Barker, On the Wire (BBC Radio Lancashire). 29/4/17.
"It is a proper good album this, all round." Fenny, On the Wire (BBC Radio Lancashire). 29/4/17.
"Talking of acoustical experiences here is a very surreal idea, it's by Liverpool's Paul Rooney, it uses spoken word... from the point of view of a bit of spittle stuck inside the tube of a trombone." Verity Sharp, Late Junction (BBC Radio 3). 18/4/17.
"It's a remarkable album actually, its called Futile Exorcise... very welcome indeed... Highly recommended." Roger Hill, PMS (BBC Radio Merseyside). 3/4/17.
"That's Paul Rooney, excellent stuff, that's called Spit Valve..." Rocker (Dandelion Radio). April 2017.
Daisy Hyde (The Wire Magazine) online preview. 22/3/17.
"[Lost High Street's] spindly punk theme song, ‘performed’ by tour guide Aileen, could be a kindred spirit of Lucy’s, and suggests a kind of Rooney-verse, parallel or not, in which all his characters eventually connect up to create some kind of six degrees of separation soap opera." Neil Cooper (MAP Magazine #15). Sept. 2008.
"Rooney’s successful prose and ability to entertain are not merely incidental features of some more abstract critical engagement, but are integral to the force of [Lost High Street]." James Clegg (Art Review). Sept. 2008.
"...Lost High Street consists of the rather wayward observations and autobiographical musings of a loner sitting at the back of an open-top bus as it tours Edinburgh. Rooney empathises and charms us into feeling the subjectivity of his protagonists. Who else but him could achieve such deep pathos with such down-to-earth subjects, methods and materials?" Robert Clark (The Guardian). 14/6/08.