A nice selection of recordings this month for me to cast my ears over. Until the late submission by Amoral Compass it was looking like a Wiltshire special. Although after reading the review they may wish they hadn’t sent it in….. Congratulations to Buswell for his 2nd Record Of The Month Award.
Record Of The Month
Just over a year on from the first half of this two-part release making record of the month, Buswell does it again. This is another slice of sublime “folkestra” – intelligent, serious and considered lyrics that punch through graceful, fluid music that raises the indie-folk bar to new levels with delicious layers of strings, woodwind, horns, keys and percussion washing over the central vocal and guitar melodies. The delicate balance of the male-female vocal is stunning and executed perfectly, especially on the standout track Lebanon, which is perhaps Buswells finest moment to date. A hauntingly beautiful song of longing that keeps building up and up before swooping back down again in a lovely metaphor of the passage of love and relationships. Incredible, enlightening and educational, giving the listener a lesson in dynamics and the depth of feeling that music can generate.
Highly polished melodic pop-rock built around Matt’s emotive lyrics and vocals. This is some very confident and hooky material, with a strong pop sensibility that should serve him very well indeed. Some of this really soars – Abigail sweeps and dips around like migrating starlings whilst Black Flowers is a choppier affair. Closing track Sparks even has hints of early Cult running through it and a real swagger to the rhythm. Classy stuff that is aiming for the arena circuit.
Channeling the same ghosts as the likes of Chuck Regan / Hot Water Music, The Bronx and Springsteen at his most boisterous this is proper punk rock without the pop. Built around the startling razor-blade vocals of song writer Simon Hall this is a collection of anthemic, fist-in-the-air songs that work best when the band is properly letting go, amping up the grit, determination and energy. The recording has robbed the songs of a little of the explosive power they possess live, but as a first out of the door recording this is a damn fine start.
With a title that is just asking for trouble from reviewers this is a brave band indeed. And whilst I am not going to be churlish and fall into that obvious trap, it is oh so tempting. I often get criticised for being overly positive in my reviews (I like lots of stuff, can’t help that) but I feel creativity and musical adventure needs encouraging. So I am going to try and do the same here. There is the promise of a half decent idea at work here so I hope they keep plugging away at it, although I really won’t be listening to this particular recording again. Amateurish, clumsy and a bit of a dirge. Sorry guys.