BIZARRE STATUE “The Polish Embassy/The Cane Field” C37 (Woodford Halse)

Bizarre Statue is Bill Foreman, onetime singer/songwriter, and The Polish Embassy/The Cane Field is his attempt to shed his former skin. No longer confined to tropes or conditions of his former idiom, Foreman leans hard into esoteric, sprawling composition, more interested in letting his songs breathe deeply, performing novels than short stories. That’s how The Polish Embassy/The Cane Field came to be – this newfound freedom of form released Foreman to pursue incredible new angles and observe hidden corners. Bizarre Statue escaped its amorphous basalt origins and took on a new, untraditional, and distinguished shape.


Each of the two long tracks follows a character through a narrative. The first, “The Polish Embassy,” focuses on a British agent in Cold War Berlin, and the track is appropriately late-1960s chilly and downbeat, veering in and out of a Pink Floyd–ian soundtrack vibe. The Central European locale is as much a character as the agent himself, the crunch of sidewalk snow underfoot as shoulders hunch into trenchcoat and scarf against the wind. “If it’s true that they’re keeping me another year behind the wall,” the protagonist notes to his handler, “I’m going to need that pistol you promised. So give it to me.” Whether or not said promised pistol emerges we’ll never know, but the risk is true, and the loneliness of a secret agent in a foreign land is palpable and oddly mundane, the danger a dull ache behind a perpetual stress headache.


“The Cane Field” points toward hope, though – its character is an escaped eighteenth-century slave groping for freedom on St. Kitts. It’s not remotely easy, and we’re with him as he’s crouched, taking a break, taking stock, thinking about food and about danger and feeling the spark of excitement as a life beckons to him beyond the reach of slaveholders. Still more (More?) Floyd-ishness as acoustic strums and doubled/harmonized voices melt into baritone registers. Maybe it’s a little more Hergest Ridge in its pastoral applications, with Foreman introducing vocals to the Mike Oldfield format. At any rate, “The Cane Field” opens up – again – and any direction you choose is the right one. Well, except for backward – there’s no returning here, only open possibility.


These stories and these songs build on motifs and stretch out till every longing, every striving moment these characters experience demands your empathy. Bizarre Statue hooks you early and easily and refuses to relinquish his spell.