Boa Morte have returned with indecent haste (for them) with a new single ‘By The Time’. The lads usually take their time between releases, nine years elapsing between their last two albums. This time around, the song is a taster for an album due out next year!
A tribute to both David Berman and Daniel Johnston, it’s a more conventional song than usual for the band. Sung by Paul Ruxton, it’s a deceptively simple strum that worms its way around your ears, like a lot of Boa Morte’s best work. And a new album will be something to look forward to in 2021.
“By The Time’, Boa Morte’s first release ahead of next year’s full-length, is a surprise single from their practice-room studio over a city-centre coffee shop. The band give oblique thanks to the late Dave Berman and Daniel Johnston the only way they know how: through spare song and mesmerizing melody. What exactly is the right response to the abrupt silencing of distressed genius? Regret for the work that will never be realised? Gratitude for the work that has? Empathetic relief?
Here, Berman and Johnston’s passage from fruitful torment to fruitless peace is exquisitely captured in the bittersweet delivery of Ruxton’s vocal. And it’s this vocal – the first and unsurpassable take from a lockdown recording – that captivates the ear throughout. Tactfully, the band stepped back. Yes, you’ll notice a tantrum of floor-tom and cymbal, and the uplifting descent of some lonesome synth, and – if you listen closely enough – the ghostly residue of the song’s main melody, but these scarce and subtle interventions only accentuate the mood of bleak gratitude so vividly conjured by Ruxton’s heartfelt yet unsentimental performance.”