Here is a river. Wide of scope and long in the journey. Its skittish introduction, the leap and fall of its daring youth, the meandering, graceful curves of its calm maturity and the wide depths of memory as it meets the saltwater kiss of the sea. But, and here’s the thing; we can never see it all.
On the surface, the river may seem benign, a placid canvas for smiling day trippers, muscled rowers, solitary fishermen; wild swimmers. Don’t be fooled. Currents drift. Eddies swirl. Tides rip, pull and rotate, and languid secrets shelter in the depths or shoot upwards at inopportune moments to lay harsh truths before the sun. Oh, the stories it could tell.
They began as The Miracle Mile, then became Miracle Mile. Latterly, Jones and Marcus Cliffe. If the reductive nature of this chronological naming convention suggests the key protagonists in our drama have moved away from a sense of ‘togetherness’, you’d be mistaken. What started as a gigging band in a previous century evolved into a brains trust that almost certainly finish each other’s sentences, and if, occasionally, they wander down tributaries of their own, Trevor Jones and Marcus Cliffe are never far from rejoining the water.
This is a river they navigate with love, kindness and craft. It’s a journey rich with all the hallmarks of classic pop. A light touch on the tiller with the wisdom to leave space others fill with unnecessary noise. Lyrics that not only come from the heart but go straight to yours. Melodies that haunt you hours after the song has finished, burnished excellence you can sit on the cultivated banks of and swoon over. The combination exhibits an intelligence only found in an elite of modern pop songwriting, where names like Aztec Camera, The Blue Nile, Prefab Sprout and Crowded House are held in reverence. It is no exaggeration to state that the back catalogue celebrated on this site ticks all the boxes required for entry into this elevated club. Don’t take my word for it; just listen.
Starwatching, then, is an unofficially official celebration. Nothing you see here has been added without the full backing of Trevor Jones and Marcus Cliffe (though they may not thank me for the photos, I was not the camera). Starwatching does not seek to detract from Miracle Mile’s official site but to provide an archive and a fresh look at the music these artists have produced since 1991. It will make reference to the official site and the Bandcamp sites for Miracle Mile, Jones and Marcus Cliffe whilst providing a home for new blog posts related to the music and the people who make it. I’d love to hear what you think of it, but more importantly, if Starwatching leads you down to the river, I hope you enjoy the flow.