John Stammers took six (6) years to follow up his 2011 debut but good things come to those who wait. This long awaited follow up has been slowly constructed using old fashioned analogue recording techniques to make an album that could be compared to the work of Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and from more recent times Sufjan Stevens.
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One day if I live long enough and don't die I'll start enjoying music in the winsome singer songwriter bracket. For now even in my 40s not a lot of it leads to any form of ear excitement so you must forgive my lack of enthusiasm in this area. This album by John Stammers presumably isn't meant to be exciting. It's the sound of a man picking prettily at an acoustic guitar and singing quietly on top. The intricate patterns of 'Stepping Round Her Clothes' are lovely in a kind of Kings of Convenience/late spring breeze rustling the leaves style manner.
Stammers seems like a pleasant soul. His songs have a reassuring quality that lead you to believe that everything is going to be ok. On 'Woman' he sings happily over duelled acoustics and what worryingly like bongos. This is as lovely as Stephen Steinbrink but with a more low key air. We're not going to catch him playing an electric guitar as Steinbrink is wont to do but Stammers proves himself an adept guitarist here - his neatly fingerpicked style is a delight and finds itself embedded with in the sort of tasteful arrangements with steel guitars, gentle percussion and understated keys. The songs are simple and effective though 'I See the Signs' proves that a multi-part, episodic approach is a risk at this level - the song appears to be chasing it's own tail, more bothered by adding section after section that creating anything memorable.
It's nice. It's nice to be nice. If I were watching this live I'd probably be a bit bored but stick it on on the sort of afternoon when you are doing very little and it will flutter away in the corner without harming a soul.
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