I suppose I have had the ‘typical man’ response to the pandemic. Dealing with the illness/death of extended family members and my wife losing her job, I just did the whole ‘get on with it thing’, even if my heart was inwardly imploring “fuXX this”!
Perhaps the only obvious way in which I have dealt with my bottled up anxiety, was to surround myself with as much ‘beautiful’ as possible, i.e. walks in the countryside, lots of time with the wife and kids and all my favourite eats (irrespective of something my wife refers to as ‘nutritional value’). Musically, the beautiful is currently being supplied by Newcastle’s Benjamin Belinska who has maneged to prise my affections away from a Night Heron who had previously provided my aural cuddles.
Essentially, this is an album that wraps tales of subtle alienation with a sound that reminds me hugely, especially from a vocal perspective of the intonated glow of the Liam Frost and the Slowdown Family aesthetic. It’s the warmth of proper human emotion, that comforts despite the sometimes heart-rendering lyrical content.
Musically, many boxes are frequently ticked. With pop-rock being mixed with early Bright Eyes indie-folk inclinations and guitar riffs that shimmer with subjugated jangled intent. This is the sound of an artist who knows the beauty that jangled riffs can provide, but prefers to gently course them through his sound, rather than make them totally dominant. It is the perfect example of incidental jangle at it’s most stunning and enables the lyrics to gather the unencumbered attention they deserve.
At some point my pre-lockdown energy for life will return and I will start my natural gravitation back towards weirdy alt.jangle. Until then, I am content in the knowledge that this wonderful album will help get meto that place.