“Seriously,seriously good with layered delights and a killer production.
Sometimes the best music comes from the left field. This disc arrives unheralded by PR nonsense and slips effortlessly into the slot. Within 5 beats pen is laid down and ears are pricked and they remain so for the entire album all 55 minutes odd of it.
Why so good? Tricky, let’s try to explain. Opening with ‘You don’t own this life’ a brushed acoustic keening with minor chord flourishes and a deliberately serpentine vocal melody line. Highton’s scouse soaked tones playing against jazz reflections and time changes, flugelhorns and lilting woodwind.
Confused? It isn’t. If tasting wine the drinker would stare at the sky as the liquid rolled round the palette murmuring words such as Ackles, Bilk, Shack with a note of Drake. Next up ‘It falls together’ presents as a twisted Andrew Gold who has dropped some blotter and joined the Dukes of Stratosphere. Thumping piano, choruses, strings and English psychedelia. It feels like the stew should be too full but it is leavened by strict songwriting and almost Steely Dan like complexity. A heady brew!
‘Panic’ mines a more traditional song structure – a gentle insistent build to the main twitchy melody. There is a ghost of Chaz Jankel in the synthy surroundings, think ‘Wake up and Make Love…’ but also The The may serve as a reference point as the track heads into Depeche Mode full synth territory for the finish. What is this music? Folk? Rock? Americana? Art? FolkArt? Who gives a stuff. Track 4 ‘Sunlight Burns Your Skin’ completes the best opening quartet for album that this reviewer has heard since Wilco’s ‘Sky Blue Sky’ and the guitar on the aforementioned track would slip right into that album as would the arrangement. The tracks ‘It’s’ and ‘She Had This Sister’ are restrained hymnals with gorgeous choruses and delightful production.
These are seventies in their songwriting simplicity with melody yet so very now in attitude and feel. The whole album plays out like these. It is in many ways extraordinary. Consistent, creative and full of intent and verve. Alex Highton possesses a brilliant musical mind – seek this album out . This reviewers first 10 for a long long time. Now to find some live dates!”