This was an amazing comeback. After creating big headlines in the music press after leaving Suede in 1994, Bernard Butler tried a few collaborations. After briefly joining The Verve, he teamed up with Soul singer David McAlmont, and their short initial spell together created some magical results, the ace in the pack being their first single, ‘Yes’.
A glorious, soaring vocal from McAlmost matched by the Spector-like musical arrangement by Butler made this song a Nineties classic, with it reaching, fittingly, the top 10 after its release in May 1995 (it eventually got to no.8).
The lyrics seem to be an update on ‘I Will Survive’, with Gloria Gaynors defiance in the wake of a lover leaving replaced by McAlmonts resolve that he is over the heartbreak, and he will carry on, and by the way, ‘am I looking better??’.As for him falling for the same trick twice;
“I feel well enough to tell you what you can do with what you got to offer”
Its such a glorious opening, with Butlers guitar intoning, leading onto a fantastic orchestral swell, the strings replaced by McAlmonts beautiful falsetto.
What a single – I played it incessantly that Spring. It was like the gateway to the Summer of 1995, which, like this single was full of sunshine.
They didn’t last long as a duo, splitting up in the same year. Luckily they had recorded enough material for an album, ‘The Sound of McAlmont & Butler’, where there are other classic pop moments such as the epic ‘Disappointment’. If I was to recommend one album to you this week, it would be this one. It is dirt cheap as well (under a fiver at amazon at the moment). It is basically a collection of the songs (A & B sides) they released in 1995 – 6 of the tracks are from the 2 CD releases of ‘Yes’ (the red and blue covers pictured here on this post).
They did reunite and record again, but nothing really came close to this epic, beautiful and stirring statement of intent.