Obscurity doesn't make you a great artist. Obscurity doesn't make you anything. There are works of art, however, whose greatness is enhanced by it. A Short History Of Decay is one such work of art, and an album as good as anything I've heard all year.
However, the temptation to go for the latest album by Arcade Fire was almost unbearable. Just to fuck with the system and a bunch of one-dimensional minds - living inside their heads, unable to grasp the tuneful, emotional depth of "We Don't Deserve Love".
John Murry, for his part, looks like a herion addict and sounds like one.
He is terminally sincere, too, not least because he was a herion addict. The horrible thing nearly killed him, and (in a twist of irony or, rather, black humour) was directly responsible for the songwriting masterpiece that was 2012's The Graceless Age. "Little Colored Balloons". "If I'm To Blame". "Southern Sky". That stuff was tortured, transcendental.
A Short History Of Decay is almost as good. The mood is certainly similar - fragile and heavy, just like heroin addiction. However (and we have seen countless examples of this), mood alone wouldn't do it. You need the songs. You need the tunes. And Christ does John Murry have them.
They shine through the dark lyrics dripping with loss and despair, and you won't hear a song more beautiful than "Miss Magdalene" any time soon. He rips it up, too, in a few places, but decay was never supposed to be smooth. It was meant to be desperate. Obscure. And great - but that's provided that you are one of the few to really get it.