As soon as the first few tracks of this soulful and sassy album had floated out of the speakers and into my senses, I knew that there was something familiar about the sound. To find out that the vocalist is none other than The Magic Numbers’ Angela Gannon and that various members of Danny and The Champions of the World can be found fleshing out the music, therefore, made perfect sense.
Araluen is a musical vehicle for Paul Lush’s self-penned songs, a figure of no small repute on the British Americana circuit. Having spent years plying his trade on behalf of plenty of well-known bands and artists, such as the aforementioned Champs and Rockingbirds frontman Alan Tyler, he has finally collected an awesome band around him to record his songs.
If you are looking for an easy handle, perhaps country-soul might suffice, Gannon’s vocals effortlessly supplying the soul, the band a bluesy-country vibe full of swelling organ sounds and threads of emotive pedal steel, a tasteful rhythm section and of course Paul’s understated guitar work.
This is an album that says a lot about how smart Paul Lush is. Not just the great songs found here but the trust he has put in those around him to build those songs into such solid and sensational finish articles. Where many artist’s solo albums very much become the “me show,” this is a triumph in the art of collaboration. Even touches such as kicking the album off with such a smooth and laid-back gem of a song as In The Arms of Another shows just how much he follows his own intuition.
From there, the album wanders some gorgeous sonic, heart worn highways. Only For Tonight is a bluesy rocker celebrating…well, the act of celebration, of letting down your hair and escaping the rat-race for a while, A Nice Idea at The Time is a sweet and soulful slice, the band a master-class in the art of less is more craft and of serving the song and Never In The Moment is understated blues dancing with Motown seduction.
Paul Lush has spent so long musical serving and sonically supporting others, this album feels long overdue. But they say the best things come to those who wait and this is an album that was more than worth waiting for.