Willard Grant Conspiracy, the band fronted by Robert Fisher with as many as 31 rotating members throughout the world, has completed its fifth "official" full-length album, kicking off their relationship with Kimchee Records. Regard The End follows 2000's Everything's Fine and previous albums Mojave (1999), Flying Low (1998), and 3 am Sunday @ Fortune Otto's (1996) with several key differences. Fisher's songwriting has begun its transition into weighty subject matters such as death, hope and faith, as traditional songs meld with new Fisher compositions in such a way that it's impossible to discern which is which. "River In The Pines" from 1865 sits beside "Beyond The Shore," a new composition, and the two are strangely unified. Additionally, the new album marks the departure of guitarist Paul Austin as a full-time member, although he appears on the disc. It was mostly recorded in Slovenia, a place the band happened to be at the moment the album wanted to be born. Eighteen musicians were enlisted to play on Regard the End, among them Chris Eckmen of The Walkabouts as well as Kristen Hersh (Throwing Muses), Blake Hazard, and Jess Klein, all of whom contribute vocals on the new album. Using a varied palate of acoustic and electric instruments including viola, trumpet, wheezing pump organs, grand pianos, violin, and acoustic and electric guitars, the record unfolds itself to the listener in layers. Its songs of universal emotions are told with a mixture of personal experience and enough storytelling to allow the listener to inhabit them with his or her own experience.
"In a way, the album is a meditation on morality," Fisher says. "The theme is a classic in all art--how you relate to your death is how you define your life. Most of the songs are about grief and loss and coming to terms. It's not a blues record but it has cathartic effects. I write the songs and the band makes them breathe and live. And then the audience brings their own experience to bear in the songs. It doesn't matter whether we play them in Sweden, Germany or Texas-- people seem to find commonality."
Upon its European release Uncut magazine named Regard the End its "Album of the Month" and at year's end gave it "Top 5 Albums of 2003" honors, declaring, "Regard The End is the first Willard Grant album to truly immerse yourself in. In ditching most of their traditional band ethic, they've tapped into the finest folk gothic traditions of death, suffering, misery and hardship and fashioned a paradoxically uplifting, transformative record of extraordinary power."
Check out the artist's website:http://wgc.hinah.com
1. River in the Pines
2. The Trials of Harrison Hayes
3. Beyond the Shore
4. The Ghost of the Girl in the Well
6. Another Man is Gone
7. Soft Hand
9. Fare Thee Well
10. Day is Passed and Gone
11. The Suffering Song