See the full Aurelio Voltaire catalog
Aurelio Voltaire’s 4th album: 2004
THE DEVIL TAKES A HOLIDAY Known for his dark humor, Voltaire temporarily hangs up his horns on Then And Again, nine gorgeous songs of love lost where no one gets beheaded! This is the album that turns your parents into Voltaire fans! Serious, heartfelt and mature, Voltaire shows his versatility as an artist.
Years before Voltaire cemented himself as a master of cynicism and dark humor with his debut CD, The Devil’s Bris (“When You’re Evil,””Ex Lover’s Lover,” etc), his material was of a decidedly more serious nature. In the early nineties, Voltaire wrote songs of lost love (“The Happy Song,” “Believe,” and “Wall Of Pride”). However, he hadn’t yet discovered the joys of writing vengeful murder ballads. Ditties about seeking revenge on those who had hurt him by chopping them to bits wouldn’t happen until just before his debut release in 1998. Upon the release of Bris, he found an audience for his special brand of dark sarcasm and thus found it easy to focus on writing material of that nature. He says, “I am by nature a sarcastic bastard, so naturally that’s going to come across in my songs.” And thus Voltaire came to be known as the spooky guy who wrote dark yet humorous songs of betrayal and revenge.
“But nobody is one-dimensional,” says Voltaire. “ we are all multi faceted beings so of course I’m going to write material that reflects other mindsets and moods.” His albums have always reflected that by having a balance of the humorous, the poignant, as well as the heartfelt. But by his third release (Boo Hoo) he had come full circle. “I was writing more and more serious material and I felt Boo Hoo was in danger of becoming off balanced. It was then that I decided that my next two Cds would be divided into the serious and the humorous, the comedic and the tragic.”
While his next LP, Ookie Spookie is marked to be “an over-the-top exercise in dark humor,” Then And Again is just the opposite. This is the seldom seen serious side of Voltaire, a collection of nine songs that span more than a decade. “Life is cyclical,” says Voltaire, “so I guess it’s no surprise that I have returned to some of the same themes I was writing about ten years ago”. Then And Again contains songs from as far back as 1990 and is complimented by new songs in a similar theme and style. The timeless quality of Voltaire’s music is highlighted, as the earliest songs on the album are as fresh and relevant today as they would have been ten years ago.
Moreover, fatherhood has given Voltaire a greater breadth of subject matter as is seen on the more recent tracks (“Crusade”- a poignant anti-war message from a father to his son, “Goodnight Demonslayer” – a spooky lullaby that warns a child about humanity and “Born Bad”- a death-row inmate’s pleas to see his mother again.)
This is the disc that will turn your parents into Voltaire fans! Lend it to them and see, just don’t expect to get it back.
Now and again Voltaire writes songs that don’t involve beheadings, necrophilia or seeking revenge on ex-lovers. Though best known for his dark humor, Voltaire temporarily hangs up his horns on Then And Again and demonstrates his versatility and tremendous staying power as an artist with a collection of songs that is serious, heartfelt and mature,
Fill the tub, light some candles, sit back and enjoy.
Reviews Editor –
From Three Imaginary Girls
June would be a great month to explode on the world with what you want, as the zealously passionate protagonists and characters in the songs by Voltaire often do. Those protagonists and characters are probably all Voltaire himself, an incredibly gifted multi-talented vocalist, songwriter, musician, cartoonist, artist, et al, who can take any position in his topical songs, as long as its based in subversive spiritual empathy and naked embrace of certain important dark things. His cryptically romantic new album Then and Again follows a handful of quietly received classics that I think will boil down to a superb greatest hits once the undervalued songwriter and performer breaks through to the people who need to hear him. Those with Gothy pasts and a perverse sense of humor will appreciate his smooth croon, questioning, self-depreciative sense of humor, and very tasteful and emotionally reflective musicianship (great strings and multi-tempo shifts very clearly produced). Sort of the Randy Newman of the crushed black velvet set, Voltaire makes little sense, other than an astonishing talent in the underground to keep track off and hope he finally takes what’s his instead of being taken for granted. Melancholy beloved low points: “Wall of Pride,” “Born Bad,” and a nice cover of “Lovesong.” -Chris Estey
Reviews Editor –
I discovered VOLTAIRE a couple of years ago and he has since then been one of my absolute favourite artists and the thing is that it’s really hard not to like this sarcastic, but charming man with his pitch black humour. Three full-length albums has been released since he crawled out from the goth scene and before the new album Then And Again was released, an album that turned out to contain a surprise for all those of us who expected to get another laugh out of his lyrics. There aren’t really any larger musical changes from the older material, but more or less gone is the sarcastic touch in his lyrics and instead he shows a more serious side of himself and his song writing. Yet you get to smile a little bit in the song “Goodnight Demonslayer,” in which he gives a little child some advice on how to handle the sneaky monsters under the bed and the equally sneaky humankind. But turning back to the musical part, the album has clearly the typical VOLTAIRE sound, in other words rock where acoustic guitar and melancholic violins builds up the melodies and gets backed up by a drumming in rather slow tempo. I’ve always been soft hearted when it comes to the violin and that is surely one reason why VOLTAIRE has gotten such a hard grip on me, but also his superb voice plays a major part in that. “Love Song” should be a well known song for most THE CURE fans and VOLTAIRE gives us here is interpretation of the song, but doesn’t in the end move that far from the original. “Wall Of Pride” together with the above mentioned “Goodnight Demonslayer” is the albums highlights in my mind and on “Hello Elskan Min” you get to hear a bit Icelandic. It beats me why Icelandic turns up here, but is sounds interesting nevertheless.
Sure, you won’t find any songs like “When You’re Evil” or “The Vampire Club” on this album, but Then And Again clearly shows that VOLTAIRE is as great serious as sarcastic. He has once again impressed me and I can’t do anything else but to declare that this is a damn great album.
Reviews Editor –
From Liar Society
Voltaire fans might be in for a bit of a startle with this album. Although his Old World gypsy-goth musicality is still in evidence, the subject matter of Then and Again is a far cry from the morbidly humorous lyricism of Voltaire’s past efforts. Sure, some of the songs on Boo Hoo were real tear-jerkers, but never before has Voltaire presented such a palette of raw emotion. The best of the songs range from the philosophical “The Happy Song” and the bittersweet “Wall of Pride” to the pondering of crime and punishment in “Born Bad” and a faithful rendition of The Cure’s “Lovesong”. A bit of whimsy does sneak in at the end with “Goodnight, Demonslayer”, but otherwise this is a serious affair. It is also a particularly strong selection of songs; the only one that is a bit of a letdown is the opener “Crusade”, which, while a truly beautiful medieval-esque ballad featuring Michael Laird of Unto Ashes, mixes metaphors a little too much for my liking and detracts from the overall anti-war message of the song. -Jack [4 stars out of 5]
Reviews Editor –
While gothic comedian and songwriter Voltaire has been occasionally showing his softer side since his first album, this CD is the first to focus exclusively – or almost exclusively, at least – on his more serious work. Though technically this is a collection of songs written over a period of ten years, they all fit together surprisingly well, and this should please long-time fans as well as winning over new ones. It starts off with “Crusade,” a lovely strummed guitar piece with all the rhythm and heart of a good Irish rebel song and lyrics that at first seem to be your standard Medieval fantasy ballad and end up being a commentary on both xenophobia and fatherhood. It’s both catchy and marvelously subtle. The theme of fatherhood pops up again on “Goodnight Dragonslayer;” a lullaby the artist wrote for his son and also the only overtly funny song on the disk. “Tell the monster that lives ‘neath your bed,” Voltaire instructs his son, “To go somewhere else or you’ll kick him in the head.” “Welcome to the World” and “Wall of Pride” see Voltaire taking a more solemn turn, and “Born Bad” could be the heartfelt sister song of his sarcastic crowd favorite “When You’re Evil.” This CD also contains a cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong” with delicate violins standing in for the keyboard part, and it’s a lovely version, quintessentially Voltaire but still retaining the essence of the original.