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The Butterflies Of Love – Famous Problems (Fortuna Pop!)

The post-Christmas train ride back to London; a cocooned come-down swaddled in a winter coat. I peer sleepily through the window at the occasional sparks of light that appear in the smeary blackness outside. On my headphones The Butterflies Of Love provide the perfect soundtrack to hunkering down for a cold snap. I think of strands of tobacco on lips, cloudy breath in frosty night air, rain flecking darkened windscreens, black coffee on murky mornings, fairy lights in fog. ‘Famous Problems’ was recorded in December and it sounds like it. There’s an agreeable darkness to even its sprightliest songs, a sense of peering through windows into lamp lit warmth.

This, their third album, feels like The Butterflies Of Love’s most cohesive yet. Thanks to the addition of guitarist and live stooge Jason Mills there are deep layers of guitar that roam deliciously from buzzingly heavy fuzzing to backwards warpings through countrified twanglings and delicate janglings. Add to this whirls of thick as molasses organ plus the charmingly drawling vocals of Jeff and Dan Greene, not to mention their dual song-writing skillz, and you’ve got an engagingly woozy, swirlingly psychedelic set of songs to luxuriate in. Plus they never outstay their welcome, few of the tracks even hit the three minute mark. Brevity is stylish.

As ever, part of the Butterflies’ appeal is the vivid imagery and narrative slant of their songs, with the story-telling of the lyrics fleshed out by musical pictures. Echoing drums, bleeding guitars and blurry edged organ on the whisky-nipped ‘Ghostride’ summon up the dreamlike, eerie exhilaration of dangerous driving through the dark. The wonderous, blackly rumbling maelstrom of ‘In A Blizzard In A Lighthouse’ fills the skies with snow clouds. The cheekily roguish sing-along ‘Act Deranged’ spins along on a chirpy organ riff, generating a cosy heat and a knowing smile. Contrarily ‘Sunshine ’is a hushed lullaby with an intimate, huddling in the gloom tone. ‘No Moon No Sun No Stars’ yowls and scowls and barrels through on a storm-tossed sea of sturdy fuzzed up guitar. ‘Smite the White Eagle’ is a gently epic few minutes of ember glow organ and deranged thoughts. ‘Lies Will Sound Like The Truth’ kicks your feet from under you and cradles you in its swooning, buzzing folk-tinged lilt - which, if you have any nous at all, you’ll remember from The Butterflies’ Luminaire gig last year and a lone glitterball will start to spin drunkenly in your mind.

The Butterflies Of Love have gathered together their hopes and regrets and hugged them close to create this powerful set of songs flickering in the gloaming. It’s a fuggily confusing, comforting place to be. And then abruptly it ends. Final song, the phasing, quavering ‘Once A Year’ is a psychedelic lament complete with wibbling space noises that suddenly pulls up sharp and unceremoniously dumps you with the words ‘Everything’s changing’. The train pulls in at the station and its time to shuffle out into the cold.

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