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Love And Logic
Love And Logic
Price: £10.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sons of Bill - The Twisted South, 26 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Love And Logic (Audio CD)
It would be nice to seek deeper meaning or have a more exotic explanation for this bands name. As it stands the answer is very straightforward. "Sons of Bill" comprises brothers James, Sam and Abe Wilson the offspring of Virginia Professor of Literature William Wilson an expert of the doyen of Southern writers William Faulkner. Working alongside bassist Seth Green and drummer Todd Wellons this is the bands fourth album but this reviewers first experience of their music. It is a pleasing to pronounce that "Love and Logic" is a record of the highest quality with a range of American songs that check Big Star, REM and more traditional country sources. There is no musical earthquake to be found on this album but you sense that is a stayer, an album that allows you to wax lyrical about its many strengths but also regret that in the pop fuelled mediocrity of today's music that it will probably never trouble the charts.

Opener "Big unknown" starts off sounding like "My Sweet Lord" until a slide guitar enters and anchors it as an melodic alt country anthem with different brothers taking vocal duties. As impressive is the rolling "Long Road to Canaan" a beautifully produced track punctuated with the haunting pedal steel instrumentation from the multi instrumentalist Sam Wilson. Other songs like "Lost in the Cosmos ( for Chris Bell)" echoes the haunting country sounds of bands like the Low Anthem and suitably some of the great music of Chris Bell himself post Big Star. It is Michael Stipe that is the inspiration for "Arms of the Landslide" which sounds like early REM which makes you reflect how much that great band is missed. Finally Stipe and Co are name checked on the melodic guitar rock of "Bad Dancers" where James Wilson tackles the duality of the Southern experience especially in the reflection that "Once Southern boys they all loved R.E. Lee, and once Southern girls loved R.E.M. Were they all in confederacy against you? Or were you just like them?". The entire kit and caboodle is drawn to a suitably melancholy close with the sumptuous acoustics of "Hymn-song" where once again the sheer quality of the band shine through.

American and Canadian music is currently populated with bands that plough a deep Americana furrow and carve out a decent living from it. Other acts like the Barr Brothers, Field Report and Apache Relay all fall into this category. They, like Sons of Bill, produce music which does not over conceptualise and yet is anchored in the deep roots of the American past and a traditional of thoughtful lyricism. "Love and Logic" is real find and a nice musical fork in the road should you choose to follow it.

Natalie Prass
Natalie Prass
Price: £9.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Natalie Prass - Beautifully heartbroken, 26 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Natalie Prass (Audio CD)
Natalie Prass couldn't have chosen a better home than the Spacebomb Records imprint to take forward her music. It is label run by her school friend Matthew E. White who recorded one of 2013's best records, the brilliant "The Big Inner" that harked back to the great days of Stax records. It has a recording studio in Richmond Virginia, with the idea that artists signed to Spacebomb will fully utilise all these musical facilities including the house session players. Prass herself is a classic singer songwriter. She does not possess the biggest voice in terms of musical thump but the sheer golden sweetness that emanates from her vocals more than compensate for this.

This debut album is a hybrid between the musical ethic of "Dusty in Memphis" combined with the more fragile soundscapes of artists like Julia Holter and Vashti Buynan. It is an heartbreak album detailing love gone wrong and imploding. Throughout the musicianship is impeccable yet this is is because the songs are so good. Prass has assembled a suite of nine tracks which are confessional in nature but remain up-lifting. Opener "My baby don't understand me" is an utterly gorgeous tale of breakup where Prass forlornly questions "Where do you go, when the only home that you know Is with a stranger". This is all set against the backdrop of a soul stew of gentle horns. it is followed by the funkier more pop orientated "Bird of Prey" which again is beautifully paced as the Spacebomb musicians colour in the song with swirling organs and the economical use of horn. This mixture of musical flourishes and Prass sweetness is epitomised on "Your Fool" a song which sounds structurally simple but achieves a melancholic pop bliss that many more established artists never reach. There is also variation with the ethereal "Christy" heading off into territory where Joanna Newsom is currently the major landowner. Others like "Why don't you believe in me" and "Never over you" are hewn from a classic country soul template and are effortless. Best of all is "Violently" a slow burn that is near to perfection. Quite how this slight 28 year old woman conjures up some of that power that was at the heart of "Otis Blue" is a miracle. "Reprise" alternatively is softly spoken and instrumental infused version of the earlier "Your Fool" but distinctive enough to stand in its own right. One small misstep could be the closer "It is you" which on first listens jars as a slice of Disney-esque schmaltz amongst the sweet soul demanding a certain mood to fully appreciate its charms.

Natalie Prass and the Spacebomb collective have again proved that it is possible to delve into a well known musical tradition whilst infusing it enough modernity to be highly relevant thereby pushing that same tradition in a forward direction. As stated it would be easy to argue that with all the consummate musicians present that it would be difficult for Natalie Prass to record a bad record. Looking through another lens however it is clear that that Natalie Prass inspired these players with her music and they complimented her beautiful vision. This is a truly great debut album and one which you will want seek out post haste.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 27, 2015 11:30 PM GMT

Fear and Saturday Night
Fear and Saturday Night
Price: £13.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ryan Bingham - Not so weary, 20 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Fear and Saturday Night (Audio CD)
3.5 stars

This is the fifth album by country star Ryan Bingham. In the space of ten years he has produced a mix of joyous country rock in songs like "Bread and Water" and yet time has also seen a much darker streak emerge. 2012's "Tomorrowland" was a sad treatise on the death of his very troubled parents and his award winning song "The Weary Kind" for the film "Crazy Heart" seemed to signal growing resignation to the exhaustion inflicted by touring. This was reflected perfectly in the line "Your body aches/Playing your guitar and sweating out the hate/The days and the nights all feel the same".

Bingham's new album "Fear and Saturday Night" starts the tip the balance in the different direction towards contentment. As he stated its time to "Quit looking in the rearview mirror and just start looking out the windshield". In terms of producing the record Bingham retreated to trailer in California and has usefully stripped back the approach on these new songs. Opener "Nobody knows my trouble" is a lovely spare country song with his cigarette stained raspy voice to the forefront. Others like the harmonica infused "Broken Heart Tattoo's" is a letter to his then unborn child and top notch songwriting. Alternatively "Top Shelf Drug" is a rather average rocker which is marginally salvaged by a swirling backbeat and a nasty guitar solo half way through. Bingham is on much more solid ground when he he sticks to knitting producing straightforward songs like the glorious "Island in the Sky" and one of the standouts "My diamond is too rough" a gently rolling country ballad full of latent regret and vivid imagery. Best of all is "Snow falls in June" which could become a country classic on the wonders of love's restorative power. Sadly others like "Gun fighting man" sees a reversion to a spaghetti western sound full of lyrical cliches whilst "Radio" is hewn from that genre of Americana based rock which artists like Jason Isbell and Justin Townes Earle can do in their sleep. Much better is the roaring Tejano workout on the rollicking "Adventures of You and Me"

Overall this a a very solid performance from Ryan Bingham but there remains a sense that his best album is still to come. There are enough great songs on "Fear and Saturday Night" to confirm his status and one of the leaders of a generation of turnpike troubadours. Nevertheless next time round perhaps a phone call should be made again to T Bone Burnett on production duties bring more coherence and shape? If this can be achieved Ryan Bingham will be unstoppable.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 26, 2015 11:19 AM GMT

Modern Blues
Modern Blues
Price: £9.99

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Waterboys - The Journey from Dublin to Nashville, 19 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Modern Blues (Audio CD)
It gave immeasurable pleasure beyond words to see Mike Scott reunited with dextrous fiddler Steve Wickam and Anto Thistlethwaite on sax, returning as the raggle taggle mainstays of the Waterboys during last years "Fishermans' Box" tour. Their gig in Bristol's Colston Hall was a absolute stormer and the nostalgic photo opportunity they presented to the crowd to have a picture of the band in front of "Spiddal House" was a heartwarming moment. It is good start to 2015 therefore to see Scott and chums back and producing new music (albeit minus Thistlewaite). Add to this the presence of great session men including keyboardist "Brother" Paul Brown and legendary Muscle Shoals bassist David Hood and this new album achieves a very full and satisfying sound.

For "Modern Blues" Scott and co decamped to Nashville with its rich musical heritage and modern musical creativity. It also served to incentivise for as Scott states "I know that across town Jack White's making a record, The Black Keys are making theirs. I like that competitive feeling, it's exciting. It's a spur." The evidence of this "edge" lies in the strength of key songs across the album. Beginning with the rousing funky powerhouse opener "Destinies Entwined" here again is track that which shows that Scott has not given up on his search for the "Big Music". Jump then to the conclusion of the record and you will find one of the best Waterboys songs for years in the 10 minute plus stunner "Long Strange Golden Road" full of Scott's wordy Dylan-esque lyrical imagery referencing Dean Moriarty's ghost and signing off with a blazing guitar/organ flourish. Honestly any self respecting Waterboys fan will WANT this song. There other contributions which will all please long time admirers especially the melodic "November Tale" a song of lovers recalled, whilst the lovely "Girl who Slept for Scotland" is a wonderfully eccentric ballad and proof of Scott's endearing uniqueness. Songs like "Still a Freak" sees him reflecting on middle age in the same way that Neil Young did on "Big Time". It's a noisy horn infested blues workout that shows that this 56 year old has plenty of fire left in his belly. Granted "I can see Elvis" which name checks Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Parker and John Lennon is solid but not very inspiring. More jazz greats are name checked in the "Nearest thing to hip" which thus far is this reviewers least favourite on the album (although perseverance will be applied). Thankfully others like the bitter "Rosalind (you married the wrong guy)" will go down a storm in concert whilst the pop rock of "Beautiful Now" has echoes of the Replacements which by definition means its a great song.

"Modern Blues" is a very accessible and instantly likeable Waterboys album. It is much closer in the overriding musical vibe to "Dream Harder" than it is "Fisherman's Blues". Overall it proves again that Mike Scott is a musical national treasure. His ability to combine the epic with the slightly mad remains an enduring gift to lovers of his music. "Modern blues" cements the huge reputation of a songwriter who really has nothing left to prove. Scott however is not one to rest on his laurels. Praise be unto him.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 26, 2015 11:21 AM GMT

What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World
What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World
Price: £9.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Decemberists - An American Beauty, 19 Jan. 2015
The Decemberists dalliance with prog rock in 2009 on “Hazards of Love” was short lived and it appears that it did them little harm. Their last album 2011’s “The King of Dead” saw Colin Meloy concentrate on producing wonderful songs with big choruses that gave them there first US number one record. The underpinning folk roots to this band remain and Meloy’s rich voice places them a significant notch higher than many of their counterparts. With this new album “What a terrible word, what a beautiful world” the overall excellence of this band shows no sign of diminution.

The band are no longer shy in pitching their songs in a radio friendly direction and the slightly REM feel on “Make you better” repeats some of the folksy Americana of “King is Dead. The flowing single “The Wrong door” is classic Decemberists circa “Picaresque” and instantly accessible. The deeper rewards come however in songs where Meloy reprises some of his previous obsessions not least a fascination with music of the era of the American Civil War. Thus “Carolina Low” has a haunting timeless quality to it and builds on some of the work Meloy did on the “Inside Llewyn Davis” concert album. The longest song here is “Lake Song” and captures that gorgeous acoustic vibe that Meloy nailed on songs like “June Hymn”. It is a gem that sees a classic Decemberists template with a song that is catchy yet nuanced which eventually grows to tug at your emotions. The song “12-17-12”, is an harmonica driven acoustic ballad inspired by the there terrible school shootings at Sandy Hook where Meloy concludes with the regretful sentiment “And oh my God / What a world you would make here / What a terrible world, what a beautiful world / What a world you have made here”. Others like “Anti Summersong” doesn't appear to bear any relationship to “The Crane Wife’s” joyous “Summersong” but is a nice sing-along anthem all the same. One small grievance is that a couple of songs, with “Mistral” being an obvious candidate, which fall into the category of good but not great. Equally some of that quirkiness that the band used to capture in tracks like “Bagman’s Gambit” and “I was meant for the stage” has been smoothed and is in danger of disappearing (although “Philomena” is in that tradition). Nonetheless this is mostly nit picking as “What a terrible word, what a beautiful world” once again confirms the status of The Decemberists as one of America’s best bands

The Decemberists tour the UK in February 2015 and this reviewer is overjoyed to have a ticket at the ready. In this setting songs like the glorious horn driven “Calvary Captain” will no doubt become huge live favourites. The Decemberists have once again produced an album of infectious mature songs and it is delightful to welcome them back after a long four year wait.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 24, 2015 5:50 PM GMT

Hollywood Town Hall
Hollywood Town Hall
Offered by davehopetrading
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Jayhawks - A landmark record of Alternative Country, 17 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Hollywood Town Hall (Audio CD)
Many think that 1992's "Hollywood Town Hall" is actually the Jayhawks debut. It is actually preceded by their 1986 debut "The Jayhawks" (Aka the Bunkhouse sessions) and 1989s "Blue Earth". These are both good albums but are precursors to the massive step change that occurred on this record. This was their big label debut on Def American and one in which they drew class session support in the form of Benmont Tench from Tom Petty's Heartbreakers and Nicky Hopkins from the Rolling Stones. As a band from Minneapolis, they stood in sharp contrast to the other local bands of the time like Husker Du and the Replacements who ploughed a more pop rock orientated or hardcore furrow. The Jayhawks alternatively harked back to deeper Americana roots traditions and in the harmony drenched songs of Olsen and Loris had two of the finest songwriters to emerge in Americana music in the past 30 years. Indeed they are as important as Uncle Tupelo in terms of the being founders of the Alt Country movement in the early 1990s

This reviewer first purchased their brilliant fifth album "Sound of Lies", marked by the he departure of founder-guitarist-vocalist Mark Olson and saw Gary Louris take over the reins even though in some quarters he had been seen a the "junior" partner in the band. Coming at the Jayhawks "back to front" and retracing steps over their previous albums was therefore a huge pleasure not least devouring this third album by the band which is an alt country classic and one which draws on the legacy of great bands like Poco and the Flying Burrito Brothers, but also develops and deepens this further.

"Hollywood Town Hall" was recently remastered and also threw up six of its songs to the excellent Jayhawks retrospective "Music From The North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology". In candour all ten could have been included and your sympathies go to the albums compilers who must have gone through agonies in achieving the final track line up.. With all the songs present vying for "Best of" status the following are personal favourites. The first of these is the brilliant opener and single "Waiting for the Sun" with its echoes of Neil Young and fine guitar from Olsen. Second you should seek out "Settled down like rain" a lovely pop country ballad which deserves to be recognised as the one of the best songs that has emerged from the Americana genre. Next up is the hard rock of "Wichita" with blistering guitar solos churning out of Olsen. Finally "Two Angels" screams out for Gram Parsons to stir himself from the Joshua Tree and a make a comeback, although Louris vocal would be difficult to better. Others like "Take me with you (when you" are more cagey on revealing their charms but with a great dual vocal from Olsen and Louris it turns out to be one of the standouts on the album.

Overall "Hollywood Town Hall" is one of those albums that by the third or fourth listen burns itself into your consciousness after slowly revealing its melodic secrets. Also remember that from this you can graduate to the joys of "Tomorrow the green grass" and "The sound of lies". The rewards are great and for those curious for something different within a tightly defined genre this is a great starting point. Like Uncle Tupelo's "No Depression" this is a landmark album in the trajectory of alternative country's birth. You don't own it? Then its time to get out the cheque book.

Fear Fun
Fear Fun
Price: £11.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Father John Misty - Life after the Fleet Foxes, 15 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Fear Fun (Audio CD)
It takes a lot of guts to leave one of the most successful rock bands of recent years to cut out on your own and produce an album that is the culmination of much invested time. Tillman was of course the drummer in the Fleet Foxes until he departed in 2012 to concentrate on this project under the moniker of Father John Misty. He has already under his belt some seven albums not least the nice bluesy Americana of 2009s "Vacilando Territory Blues" that whilst not quite turning the earth off it axis contained some fine tunes from an inspired musician. In terms of "Fear Fun" more risks are taken and they largely pay off in music which sees Tillman employ a more expansive template.

Undoubtedly some will argue that the ghosts of Laurel Canyon haunt his production but damn it if its good enough for Dawes and Jonathan Wilson why can't old Joshua have a slice of the action? In decamping to Los Angeles to record this album Tillman also seems to cultivated a sense of humour which was somewhat lacking from previous records. He describes the album as "weird-ass songs about weird-ass experiences" which allude to such existential luminaries Sartre and Heidegger as inspiration. Whether such a bunch of angst ridden philosophers is a good template for essentially West coast rock music is a debate that this reviewer will leave to the cleverer purchasers on Amazon, suffice it say that that large parts of this record are upbeat and in the equation of the title fun triumphs over fear. The use of otherworldly substances clearly plays a part in all this and Tillman admits that on his journey from rainy Seattle to humid LA he was carrying "enough mushrooms to choke a horse." Well they worked and on the truly lovely standout track "Nancy from now on" you hear the product of a man puffing out his chest, expanding his lungs and confidentially striding forward as a great songwriter with a lovely slice of work infused with a wicked set of lyrics. In "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" he produces a punchy rock song that has been over the music blogs like flooding water in a wet April. He even seems to poke fun at the overused classic sick note excuse when he states that "Jesus Christ, girl/What are people gonna think/When I show up to one of several funerals/I've attended for grandpa this week". Best of the lot is the ghostly "Fun times in Babylon" where Tillman finds his niche in a slow alt country lament which confirms his departure from the Fleet Foxes is built on a sound foundations which should see him cut his own expanse as a solo artist. Equally "Oh I Long to feel your arms around me" sees him occupy the territory once colonized by bands like Poco and America. It is a song that allows him like all good hippies to display a nice sense of guilt not least he when he frets about the industry he works in and advises "Try not to think so much about/The truly staggering amount of oil/ That it takes to make a record/All the shipping, the vinyl, the cellophane lining/The high gloss/The tape and the "gear". Other songs to mentioned in dispatches includes the warm summer country feel of "Misty's nightmares 1 & 2" and the cracking confessional finale of "Everyman needs a companion". A nod also to the colourful psychedelic art of Dima Drjuchin on the cover of this CD which is to praised for the sheer imagination on display.

There are a couple of missteps here. The rather clichéd sub Beatles style ballad "Sally Hatchet" who allegedly "lives in a hole in the ground" does grate a bit, whilst "Writing a novel" again sounds like a weak John Lennon track. But this an album brimming with ideas and a set of ingenious lyrics, which have been properly refined. As such look forward with great anticipation to his forthcoming 2015 release "I Love You Honey Bear". it should be a corker.

Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating The Music Of 'Inside Llewyn Davis'
Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating The Music Of 'Inside Llewyn Davis'
Price: £17.59

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Celebrating The Music Of 'Inside Llewyn Davis' - This land is your land, 13 Jan. 2015
The Coen Brothers film "Inside Llewyn Davis" has already been subject to a soundtrack release on which its main actor/musician Oscar Isaac played a key role. He again proves on this album that he is wonderful singer. The film captures a character who is a composite of folk legends like Dave Van Ronk and Ramblin Jack Elliot plus is infused with an early Greenwich Village troubadour ethic. The Coen's brought in T Bone Burnett and Marcus Mumford to work on the soundtrack and they are both behind this concerts organisation held in New York City's Town Hall in September 2013 before the release of the film. There is already a DVD of these performances but this concert album stands in its own right as a worthy record of a splendid evenings music.

There are a couple of veterans here like Joan Baez and Bob Neuwirth whose presence added historical gravitas to the occasion and whose contributions are solid. However the fireworks arrive with the younger generation. The brilliant Avett Brothers come alive on stage doing a great version of "All my mistakes" and a storming take on their own "Head full of Doubt/Road full of Promise" At the heart of this CD is the great Gillian Welch who nurtures this music with care. She is as ever accompanied by master musician David Rawlings and calls in folkies like Willie Watson and Conor Oberst. The versions of standards like Leadbelly's "Midnight Special" "Will be the Circle be Unbroken" and the Oberst led "Four Strong Winds" are immaculate. It is also a delight to report that Rhiannon Gibbons from the Carolina Chocolate Drops does another show stopping performance. She was the recent star of T Bone Burnett's project "Lost on the River - The New Basement Tapes" which resurrected a box of unearthed Dylan lyrics from the Big Pink sessions. Here she delivers on a sassy "Waterboy" and nails a Scots Galeic medley starting with a strathspey called `iomadh rud tha dhìth orm' or `it's many a thing i lack' and then a reel called `ciamar a nì mi `n dannsa dìreach' or `how will i dance the dance right', two pieces of puirt à beul, or mouth music. Ms Gibbons is a wizard, true star and your reviewer is smitten. The version of "Didn't Leave Nobody But The Baby" which includes Gibbons, Welch and Carey Mulligan is also a thing of wonder.

Throughout the concert the redoubtable Punch Brothers anchor the music as the house band and "turns" flow from artists such as diverse as Elvis Costello, the Decemberists Colin Meloy, Jack White, Keb Mo and Marcus Mumford. The latter seems keen to break with his Nu Folk past although every-time this reviewer hears his voice you expect him to break into a rendition of "The Cave". Still his cover of Dylan's "Farewell" is very well done. Like the soundtrack for "Oh Brother Where art thou" this music draws on an often neglected tradition of American music which deserves a bright spotlight to illuminate its huge variety and depth. This was a concert that drew together some of the best current exponents of Americana to one venue for a night of celebration. On the evidence of this album it would be wonderful if such an event could be reprised in the UK.

Glorious You
Glorious You
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Benjamin Clementine - The future sound of London, 13 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Glorious You (MP3 Download)
This is the second EP from the remarkable Benjamin Clementine one of the most intriguing singers to emerge ion the UK music scene since god knows when. Coming after his debut EP, the follow up 2014's "Glorious You" sees the deepening of the Londoners songwriting to deal with themes of loss and parting in his unique expressionist and personal way. His music does not fit neatly into any musical box. His time busking in Paris has made him conscious of the shortcomings of many British singers. As he states ""Having a spell in France, they put a lot of detail into the lyrics, it's very important because everyone is listening to what they are saying. It's like a play. But I'm quite fortunate because, with me, it's not a play. It's real."

No where is this clearer than on the opener the superb "Condolences" a song which arrives perfectly formed starting with a classical motif but extending into a tour de force of passionate Buckley-esque lyrics especially the opening lines "I am alone in a box of stone/When all is said and done/As the wind blows to the east from the west /Unto this bed, my tears have their solemn rest". Even more surprising is "Adios" which is in essence Clementine's "Sinnerman". It has that same tell tale rolling piano and Clementine anchoring the song with the repeated phrase "the decision is mine/let the lesson be mine". At the mid point he stops the song to undertake a spoken passage to highlight why people who read his songs as inherently dark are mistaken and that Infact he is inspired by angels. At this point he goes on to sing in falsetto his interpretation of how an angel may sound until the piano riff creeps back in! Granted its a bit daft and sounds like pseuds corner and yet somehow he pulls it off.

The last two songs include a wicked homage to his home in "Edmonton" in London which is a highly theatrical song hidden within a slow swinging ballad while "Mathematics" is a tender love song where Clementine's vocal is hugely emotive and controlled. Overall "Glorious You" confirms the promise on his debut EP. Here is an English artist who owes debts to singers as varied as Léo Ferré, Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel but is unmistakably of his own time. This is the future sound of London.

Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Benjamin Clementine - Genre-defying narrative music, 13 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Cornerstone (MP3 Download)
Benjamin Clementine is an artist to compulsively watch and follow. His performance of the title track of this debut EP on Jools Holland in June 2013 was mesmerising and the best contribution to the show. When you think it also included Paul McCartney, Earth, Wind and Fire, Gary Clark, Jr. and the Arctic Monkeys you can see the potential that flows out of this 26 year old Londoner who learned his trade via Paris. There are easy comparisons made in terms of Clementine's music to the drama of Nina Simone and the operatics of Anthony Hegarty. This does not do justice. As one music critic has stated "Benjamin Clementine is a self-taught singer and pianist whose powerful voice lends a bold quality to his genre-defying narrative music".

This short EP comprises three songs some of which will figure on his forthcoming album "At least for now". As stated it is "Cornerstone" which is the shop window for Clementine's music. It is a soaring piano ballad with a rolling backdrop and powerful vocal which emotes true passion. The second track "I won't complain" is perhaps his most commercial song to date, a gorgeous summation of his art where he states defiantly "My mind is a mirror, a reflection only known to me/And for those who hate me, the more you hate me the more you help me". Finally the simple piano version of "London" makes you view the Capital with a warm glow as the performance sends shivers down your spine.

If one tenth of the promise contained on this EP can be translated into his debut album then Benjamin Constantine will be a name that will figure highly in 2015 and his music will undoubtedly poll highly in the end of year lists. Just think even those out of touch judges at the Mercury Prize might even do the right thing for once.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2015 8:45 AM GMT

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