Advance Base has spent the three years since his last record contributing to the works of Sun Kil Moon and Serengeti, but now the time is right for a proper new album. Nephew In The Wild is an American record, full of old-time tales put to a slightly lethargic indie-rock tune. Released as CD and LP by the Tomlab label.
Vinyl LP £15.49 TOM146LP
LP on Tomlab.
- Shipping cost: £3.35 ?
CD £11.99 TOM146
CD on Tomlab.
- Shipping cost: £1.05 ?
Since his last record as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, slumbering songwriter Owen Ashworth contributed to Sun Kil Moon’s critically acclaimed and objectively terrible ‘Benji’, which I hold him in a great deal of contempt for. PSA everyone: do not help a man like that write songs like those. Ashworth’s own music is comparatively pretty and modest, and hearing ‘Nephew In The Wild’ proves a songwriter who can mix twee aesthetics in with a full-bodied Americana that never sounds too much like one or the other.
At first blush, this record did not make did not make a lot of sense to me; I now know that it was because I was playing it in a room full of people, where it works far better as a solitary listening experience that matches the mostly solo vocal performance Ashworth is offering. The arrangements -- often featuring drum machines, xylophonic misdemeanours and twinkling keys -- sound playful, but they disguise the sparseness of Ashworth’s stories, which are mostly plain verse love songs a la one Mark Kozelek, but after more interesting anecdotes and more bizarre scenarios (“your mom complains about the tree” is a nice slice of weird suburbia).
With his shaky near-baritone and his penchant for minor-key melancholy, Ashworth’s music has always sounded best next to your Daniel Johnston records and your favourite Boduf Songs. But it’s his arrangements that are killer: they can enfranchise his stories with a whole new vibe, the twang of “Christmas in Dearborn” giving a whole backyard to the house of quiet keyboard. These are lovely, stay-at-home songs and none of them are about Ben Gibbard. So… cut your losses.
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- Nephew In The Wild by Advance Base
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