Gravenhurst's second release, Flashlight Seasons
, proves to be an excellent showcase for singer/songwwriter Nick Talbot. The trio from Bristol have delivered a warm, whimsical collection of songs, the simpleness of which only enhances their sheer excellence. The songs are predominantly folks songs, sung with that sixth-form romanticism that is reminiscent of Stephen Duffy during the Lilac Time's more folky periods. One could also be forgiven for comparisons to Nick Drake and Burt Jensch, especially on tracks such as "The Ice Tree", where it's just a lone troubadour with his guitar.
At times, heartwrenching, these songs have not been written by a man who has something to celebrate, rather the subject matter mainly deals with the unhappy experience of life, love lost or love never gained. "I understand anger, I know what it's for" declares Talbot at the end of the "Tunnels", which prepares us for much of what is to come. The recluse of "Bluebeard" just desires to be left alone, as "
you can't rely on those you turn to, they turn against you". The harmonica solo could have been lifted directly from Springsteen's Nebraska.
Although definitely not a Saturday night album, this is the perfect Sunday evening album. These 10 songs have been written with intelligence and honesty, together with the simple and elegantly played acoustic guitars (with a few "electronic devices" here and there), this is a very fine listen indeed. --Jamie Clark