It’s two albums in as many years now for Paul Webb, who records as Rustin Man and kept us waiting 17 years for 2019’s Drift Code. Originating from the same sessions, Clockdust sounds less dense and more atmospheric than its predecessor, taking inspiration from classic black-and-white movies.
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This just in -- It’s Rustin! (Man). Paul Webb is back with his second LP in as many years, 18 years on from his autumnal classic ‘Out Of Season’. While that record featured the voice of Beth Gibbons, here it’s Webb taking care of vocals, instrumentation, mixing… He’s quite a guy, this Rustin (Man). It’s so good to hear Webb again, it really is; from the moment the album opens with ‘Carousel Days’ and we hear the beautiful simplicity of gently caressed piano, a minor key intro and then that gloriously warm voice that recalls Robert Wyatt. There’s definitely more than a touch of Wyatt here, albeit in a lower register, something about the timbre and tenderness in the quality of both men’s voices.
That the music, composition and atmosphere also feel inhabited by the ghosts of Jacques Brel and Kurt Weill does not surprise, as theirs was the music that soundtracked the recording session... The same sessions which birthed the previous record, ‘Drift Code’. Webb has also revealed that he was inspired by classic black and white movies, something which permeates into and enriches his ‘storytelling’ style of songwriting and enhances the smoky, sunset-to-eventide feel of the music.
Both ‘Jackie’s Room’ and ‘Love Turns Her On’ are classic Webb songs full of love, desire and sepia-tinged nostalgia. This is a deeply romantic record. There are those beautiful textures of guitar, organ and other, more unusual, instruments combined together to evoke a sense of everything opening up like one long highway stretching beyond the horizon. It’s a quality which is particularly lovely for anyone missing Mark Hollis and Talk Talk (which is a heck of a lot of people, including me). Just a wonderful record. Let it in.
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