What does it sound like?:
Ben Watt’s second album, since he relaunched himself as a solo act with 2014’s Afterword appreciated “Hendra”, is a low key delight. A band nucleus comprising Watt on vocals and guitars, Bernard Butler on grungy folk rock guitar plus rhythm section have created an acoustic rock sound which has been captured in old school fidelity doing odd things like all playing together in the studio and having songs of heart which build and flex as their mood develops. There’s great use of texture and arrangement, old woozy synths drift across the soundscape and the whole thing wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the Island catalogue in 1971. Ben’s vocals have never sounded better – with EBTG he always suffered, popping up next to one of the greatest pop voices these islands have ever produced, but here he comes across all gruff, passionate yet still understated. The title track is a great example – a 70s arrangement with blurry sounding bass and drums, a catchy cyclical guitar riff, slapping congas and a big lifting chorus.
What does it all *mean*?
It means Ben’s avid listening to artists like John Martyn, Tim Buckley and Richard Thompson, merged with his indy pop sensibilities, have succeeded in coming up with a brew which satisfies mind and body alike. For an 80s boy he has recreated 70s folk rock with an emphasis on the rock with aplomb.
Goes well with…
Goes well a spot of Nick Drake followed by “Solid Air”.
Might suit people who like…
Fans of aforementioned 70s icons, EBTG follow on activity lovers (though it rarely sounds remotely like them), those who like a late night whisky and a listen tinged with a side order of introspection.