Adopting its intriguing title from a 1995 Kazuo Ishiguro novel, is The Uncle Sold from the London-based Ed Dowie. May For A Dead Queen makes for a cold, eerie, but no-less-spectacular preview single - but don't pigeonhole the record with this; it prides itself on throwing its audience surprises and unexpected narratives along the way.
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- The Uncle Sold by Ed Dowie
8/10 Robin Staff review, 30 January 2017
So… I don’t know who Ed Dowie is, but he’s fucking going for it. Right here: ‘The Uncle Sold’, snatched up by an understandably eager Lost Map, is his first record, and you can bet your bottom Brexit pound that as long as he lives, it’s going to be his most epic. A record with hints of indie folk, neo-classical and prog, it ultimately stands as a masterpiece of twisted sentimentality, these lamenting songs giving Bjork and Peter Gabriel a run for their money as champions of the broken ballad.
Speaking of: this record opens on a trembling symphony called “Verbarahemiopia”, on which Dowie establishes himself next to Gabriel on the mantelpiece, his vocal catching the same ruminatory grandstanding with the ascending experimentals to match. Drums splutter against gorgeous string-swelling drones while music box melodies meet an absolutely monolithic production, the kind that makes you feel up close to the musician but caught in the same huge, empty space.
His music segues quite seamlessly between tracks, Dowie obsessing over the scene changes with cinematic precision -- “Red or Grey” emerges from the foggy drones of “Verbarahemiopia” and begins to generate a gorgeous toy melody. Melded with the vocal harmonies he’s written, it becomes a kind of spooky pastoral, like C. Duncan scoring a curious Donnie Darko scene.
The odd timbres and peculiar phrasings Dowie plays with never feel like a mask: a tune like “Why Do You Live In France?” shows off his voice at its most frank, a humble and trembling vocal that’s arguably at odds with the gorgeous arrangements around it. It’s a massively interesting records on both sides of the spectrum: it feels like a personal invocation, but through its shadowy production effects and rain-stormed samples, it sounds like a snapshot of an environment too. I can’t help but think you will be rather taken by this.
10/10 Tom Robinson Customer review, 15th May 2017
I love this album. In a year that is going to be dominated by 20-years-plus comebacks (Slowdive...Ride, etc), "The Uncle Sold" should stand out. A 18-year gap since his last release as part of the Brothers In Sound trio, one-time labelmates of The Beta Band. 2016 finds multi-instrumentalist Ed Dowie releasing his debut solo album.
I first heard about it's release last December when Daytime Radio DJ's Pete Paphides (Soho Radio) and Lauren Lavern (6Music) gave "Why Do You Live In France" some signal on their shows, I was captivated on the spot. The slow-mournful piano and Parisian-style melodica solo, the strings combined with Dowie's wistful vocal style led me to check out more online, then without hesitation I ordered a copy of "The Uncle Sold".
The mood is constant throughout, slow thoughtful tunes entwined with each other - sound-tracking an imaginary journey, the pace remains at slow-burn until the very last note of album closer "Richard" has been played. An intoxicating blend of Syd Barrett, Robert Wyatt, Super Furry Animals and Satie - I really hope this becomes 2017's "sleeper hit" and receives the acclaim it deserves.
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