[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Hello desolation. There is a beauty to decay and once more John Foxx is out to explore it; through the ruins of a future London he moves stealthily and in secret. To reveal one’s presence in such a place would only invite unwanted attention and so this stillness comes through my speakers in the form of delicate pads doing what Foxx does so well: they meld together to form a background which appears lifeless and sterile. The eyes can deceive but the heart knows; the mind may wander easily listening to this but the emotional depth to ‘London Overgrown’ is an immense one.
I’m sure there will be a temptation by some to compare this with some of his other ambient releases but it just isn’t so. There is feeling here, there is life in abundance and this place though serenely remote is a conscious one. This may be what he was out to chronicle with his latest: a city in hibernation that retains all the memories and experiences of it’s former inhabitants. Anyone can go to this place, you know, all that is required is that you allow yourself to drift through the tides of time and down the current of thought. You cannot find what Foxx depicts through any discernible means of navigation, as he has so often said throughout ‘The Quiet Man’ there is no map to this realm.
One must just let go.
And let go he certainly does, nothing is held back throughout the run of an album which is both enigmatic and elusive whilst also being saturated with the elegant romanticism he is a master of. I don’t know of anyone else who could imbue the empty spaces of our imagination with such precision; this isn’t some kind of indulgent exercise in melancholy, ‘London Overgrown’ has the feel that it does due to the man in grey knowing his subject matter inside and out. I think we’ve all had occasion to wander through the places we’ve lived looking for some kind of connection where there no longer is one and where what once was permeates the air haunting our every step.
We live our lives in pursuit of so many trivial things; achievements so often are measured only in terms of what other achievements they will allow you to either unlock or purchase in the form of temporal trinkets… this world is such a loud place that one forgets the glory they are endlessly surrounded by; through the mediums of social media and intrusive non-stop surveillance (that would be television) we have become numb to the majesty we are part of, we trivialize what endures and seek to only increase our own stature in the eyes of names on a screen. It really all is such bullshit when a person stops to think about it. John would have us set down the trappings of civilization and attune ourselves to something nobler which operates quietly outside of the menagerie each and every day.
Step away from your screens and come outside for a while, walk through these vacant streets and past the shuttered storefronts. Just remember. Remember.
John Foxx – London Overgrown
Metamatic Records, META58CD