Pour Down Like Silver
Pour Down Like Silver is the record album equivalent of medicine – it’s music that you know is good, rather than music you enjoy listening to, and it’s possibly the least fun album ever made by anyone. Converting to Islam after making of Hokey Pokey, the Thompsons decided to leave the music business, and joined a Sufi commune in East Anglia. While Thompson has remained a Muslim throughout his career, the influence of his beliefs is most obvious here and on his next couple of albums, where many of the songs are based on Sufi scriptures, while the cover images of the Thompsons in traditional Muslim garb adds to the dour atmosphere. A further contribution to the austere nature of Pour Down Like Silver comes from the sparse arrangements – Thompson states “It was a stark record, but I think it was by accident in a sense – we were intending to have Simon [Nicol] come and play rhythm guitar but he wasn’t available so everything ended up sounding very stark and I was always going to overdub rhythm guitar and stuff, but we thought we’ll just leave it, what the hell.”
As a result, the overall tone of Pour Down Like Silver is dank and low key, even if some of the individual pieces would sound more accessible outside the context – ‘Hard Luck Stories’ is energetic and cynical rock song, while ‘The Dimming Of The Day’ is a sweet, low key love song. And in comparison to the rest of the album, ‘For The Shame Of Doing Wrong’ sounds positively ornate with its violin and rhythm guitar, and Richard’s echo vocal in the chorus. ‘Beat The Retreat’ is quietly insistent with its low key arrangement and stirring melody, while ‘Night Comes In’ gives more space for Thompson’s extended guitar workouts. There’s plenty of good music here, but Pour Down Like Silver is like a rainy day or oatmeal, even within the context of Thompson’s generally serious oeuvre.
Thompson didn’t retire from music permanently – after discovering he wasn’t any good at anything else, he returned three years later with Linda on First Light.