Sat 24 Aug
The Record Stache


It’s not all that often that we find our sonic attention wandering north of the border to the Great White North, but today we have good occasion for doing so. At that, we present the first view / listen to ‘Demagogue’, the new single from Canada’s Twilight Fields, the solo moniker of singer-songwriter Allister Thompson. This is the first sign of his new album ‘Songs from the Age of Ruin’, which will be released after the near year.

Given the undercurrents and the overboard nature of national politics nowadays in so many countries, including our own (this week’s news is a good indications), ‘Demagogue’ is a politically-charged tracks and outright affirmation of the author’s anti-populist sentiment.

Based in Northern Ontario, Twilight Fields sees Thompson handling all the band’s activity: writing, playing, engineering, mixing, mastering and designing. But his focus goes well beyond Canadian borders to grotesque developments in the political realm that are more universal (and spreading like a disease) in relation to numerous locations and political personalities.

‘Demagogue’ is a timely foreboding of things to come (and a wake-up call about where we are now and how we’ve gotten here). Sounds like a politicized and melodic conversation between Rufus Wainwright, Bruce Cockburn and modern synthpop.

While Twilight Fields is best known for his blend of ambient, dream-pop and progressive rock influences, this album pays grateful homage to such artists as Billy Bragg, New Model Army, Killing Joke, Midnight Oil, and The Levellers, as well as other artists influencing his music like Leon Rosselson, Bob Dylan, Robert Wyatt, and Phil Ochs.

“While growing up, certain passionate, activist musicians were very influential to me. So much so that I’d say they changed and shaped the person I would eventually become. There has never been a more crucial time for musicians to step up and add their voices to the chorus of reason necessary to take us back from the brink of total destruction,” says Allister Thompson.

“The year 2019 finds the human species standing at a crossroads, with only two possible directions: survival or extinction. Artists should contribute their strong and clear voices to dialogues that could lead to our survival and renewal.”

‘Songs from the Age of Ruin’ is also an uneasy but compelling song cycle that begins with the bombing of Hiroshima and the absurdities of the atomic age and proceeds to tackle such difficult topics as homelessness and economic inequalities (‘Lazarus’), the evils of populism and political repression (‘Demagogue’, ‘Taken Away’), the toxicity of social media communication (‘Offended’), animal rights (‘The Animal’s Song’), and the utter stupidity of war (‘Soldier Song’). It concludes with a three-part “climate change suite” (‘Loss’, ‘Barren Planet’, ‘Why Did We Do It?’) that lays bare the tragic human consequences of catastrophic climate change.

The album also contains two cover versions, including of Bruce Cockburn’s immortal classic ‘Lovers in a Dangerous Time’ and Thin Lizzy’s ‘Holy War’.

Allister Thompson has had a varied musical career, initially playing with Toronto-based glam-rock band Crash Kelly, together with Sean Kelly (now guitarist for Nelly Furtado), and opening for such notable artists as The Black Crowes and Alice Cooper. He later veered towards making traditional folk music, progressive rock and ambient music, recording several ambient rock albums as Twilight Fields and numerous albums of ambient/Krautrock/psychedelia under the monikers The Gateless Gate and Khan Tengri.

As of December 6, ‘Demagogue’ will be available via online stores and streaming platforms, including Spotify and iTunes, as well as Bandcamp. The full album ‘Song From The Age of Ruin’ LP will be released on February 1, 2019.

Here’s the new boss on the scene
Always raging, lying and mean
He knows five wrongs erase one right
Just give the masses someone to fight

Someone to hate, someone to hurt
Someone who’s different, sound the alert
Pick those traitors out of the crowd
Make an example, make us all proud

The demagogue is coming

He’ll give you riches at no expense
He’ll cut your taxes and build a fence
To keep out foreigners who’d take what’s yours
Your plastic and metal, all you adore

He’ll usher in the bright white new age
He’ll fight progress and turn back the page
To a past that never existed
A vision of glory so evil and twisted

The demagogue is coming

Take to the streets before it’s too late
You can’t beat him with status updates
His followers ride his wave of hate
This fight is eternal it never will abate

The demagogue is coming

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