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CD Reviews

Deer Park Ranger - Bottom of the Ocean (Fluttery Records)

Highly personal minimalist musings courtesy of Trevor Humphrey in his first full-length album project under the guise of Deer Park Ranger. If not specifically music for airports, then certainly music for submarine base lounges. Also ideal for personal reflection in our own favourite spaces. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

Lydian Collective - Adventure (Lydian)

Adventurous London-based quartet creating uplifting melodies right before our ears. Building on a jazz framework, Lydian Collective take the music on new journeys with unfussy yet thoroughly engaging musicianship, reminiscent of some of Prog Rock's finer moments in places. (AW)

Star rating: 
4

Raging Twilight - Raging Twilight (Self Release)

Former Greenmantle founder Jack Law's current vehicle, delivering mild-tempered rock with the occasional blues flurry. Not sure I was aware of any raging here, although I empathise with the approaching of twilight. I suspect the band's forte is in their live performances. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

Ian Roland - The Valley EP (Self Release)

Ian Roland's passionate vocal recall The Housemartins ernest intelligent pop especially when supported by the trios beautiful harmonies. Fine Fiddle, Cello and Guitar arrangements. Three interesting players and Nigel Stonier's production ensures that three songs aren't nearly enough. (MH)

Star rating: 
4

Nic Norton and The Country Band - Brief Lives EP (Self Release)

Songs on this EP remind me vocally and compositional of early Al Stewart. The fleet fingered guitar and wry observational writing updated from Bedsitter Images to stories of cosmopolitan 21st Century life, Paul Keeler's Parisian Cafe violin enlivens it further. (MH)

Star rating: 
3

Hamad Kalkaba and The Golden Sounds - 1974-1975 (Analog Africa)

More vintage sounds re-visited through Analog Africa, this time from Northern Cameroon's 'forgotten genius'. Just 6 songs, yet packed with vibrancy and authenticity. Strange to think that while our jukeboxes in 1975 rattled to Gary Glitter, Bay City Rollers and Mud, Cameroon bars had this! (AW)

Star rating: 
3

The Courettes - We Are the Courettes (Sounds of Subterrania!)

Almost annoyingly noisy retro garage din led by a charming Danish/Brazilian duo in a sort of White Stripes in reverse, where he (Martin Wild) sneers his snare and she (Flavia Couri) creates hysterical mahem on the six strings. I can only imagine they had fun recording this bizarre album. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

The Mellowship - You Belong with Me (Self Release)

The Mellowship is shorthand for the musical endeavours of Maureen Dewdney, who for this project joins forces with Lukas Drinkwater and Ciaran Algar to deliver a selection of Mo's own self-penned songs, together with her interpretation of Stan Rogers' folk standard Northwest Passage. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

Low Lily - 10,000 Days Like These (Mad River)

One of the most important aspects of successful roots music is to make the songs appealing and accessible, something that usually comes through fine performances, convincing arrangements and thoroughly good singing. Low Lily appear to have ticked all boxes with 10,000 DAYS LIKE THESE, the trio's...

Gitkin - 5 Star Motel (Wonderwheel)

Some twangy fuzzy guitar sounds and driving rhythms see this largely instrumental album move from one motel room to another, following a rather disreputable back story of an elder relative's counterfeit guitars and seedy lifestyle, presently re-enacted with curious results. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

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