Clayhill's debut album, Small Circle
includes the single "Northern Soul", the title track to the Shane Meadows-directed short film Northern Soul
. Clayhill have provided 5 other tracks from Small Circle
, that also appear in the film's soundtrack. Ted Barnes (Guitarist/Songwriter) and Ali Friend (Bass/Songwriter) have both earned their stripes as members of Beth Orton's touring band and are co-writers on Beth's albums.
Creeping up on you like a lost cat demanding to be fed, there is a more than a chance that once the folk-rock of Clayhill enters your conscious, it's unlikely to stop bothering you until that urge is sated with repeated listening of full-length debut Small Circle
. Those familiar with their earlier release Cuban Green
know the score; everyone else now has the chance to catch up. If the strong, whisky-soaked voice of Gavin Clark sounds familiar, give yourself a pat on the back for being familiar with the work of overlooked indie band Sunhouse. Coupling this distinctive voice with the writing skills of guitarist Ted Barnes and bassist Ali Friend, both collaborators and players with Beth Orton, and the recipe that produces the urgent David Gray-esque sound that is best represented in the track 'The End Refrain' becomes obvious. Despite the stark instrumentation, the sound is huge- and the songs certainly compliment it. From start to finish, this album goes for the heartstrings, evoking a melancholy, minor key wistfulness that is at times wrenching ("Moon I Hide") and at other times triumphant and cathartic ("Northern Soul"), it never suffers any doubts of confidence. And thus, neither should any listener. --Thom Allott