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Bill Ryder-Jones is the one from The Coral who left and has since forged an unlikely solo career as an acoustic troubadour. Opener ‘Hanging Song’ exemplifies his world weary approach, sounding very, very much like Badly Drawn Boy back when he was good with lovely soft hushed vocals and sweet, if melancholy, acoustic guitar melodies. It’s all nicely produced with a homespun feel, very much like the production on Elliott Smith’s ‘Either/Or’, album beautifully crafted guitars and kind of clattery drums.
The title track is one of my favourites so far. A simple melody spins round with some lovely arrangement touches such as steel guitar and accordion. Ryder-Jones’s slightly scouse-inflected vocals sound remarkably like Michael Head of Shack and in fact the nearest comparison to a lot of this album is to Head’s one-off folky album he made under the name The Strands. The main criticism on first listen is that after a nice start, the pace never quickens (or drops) leading to some very samey sounding material, the vocals always have the same hushed tone. At times it’s not dissimilar to the recent My Autumn Empire album in all its acoustic winsomeness, all beautifully played and a nice listen but this album never really inspires particularly in its latter quarter and reverts at times to ploddy saminess.
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