I wasn't sure about this album, but you've got to hand to him, James Blackshaw definitely knows how to play guitar. But playing guitar is one thing, a millions of kids across the world can probably play guitar, and a whole load of them can probably play it well, like John Fahey style well. And speaking of John Fahey, Blackshaw obviously grew up listening to the legendary American guitarist, and like similar guitar demon, Jack Rose, has built most his music, based on Fahey's infamous style. That said however, Blackshaw has one or two of his own tricks up his sleeve, and they are recounted, almost hypnotically on his new record. The title track really shows off Blackshaw's ability to play the 12-string guitar with a deft touch - like Joanna Newsom's harp playing, after a while Blackshaw's guitar playing starts to become otherworldly and ethereal - you're no longer hearing the guitar, just a sound from somewhere that you could just listen to nearly ad infinitum. And I suppose that's what makes him - not just a good guitarist - but a great musician - this is pop music played to perfection.
Highlights: The Cloud of Unknowing, Running to the Ghost, The Mirror Speaks