The reality of being, for the most part, a one-man band when writing DAA, is that you become a victim of your success. I say that with my tongue lodged at least halfway into my cheek but having created a site that occasionally blips on a few industry radars – and I think I can at least say that I have done that – these days, the amount of music I receive for consideration far outweighs the amount I can physically write about in a day. Only about 10% of the links, videos, promo e-mails, and physical Cds and vinyl I receive make it to into an article or review on the site. If that.
The obvious answer would be to clone myself but having looked into it, I have found the costs somewhat prohibitive. So plan B is to write an occasional round-up of the music and artists that which missed out on a full review of, artists which you should check out. And so, here is the first Mentioned In Dispatches, more quality music that didn’t get the treatment it deserved, only through the lack of time. (And the cost of bio-duplication technology.)
Most recently, through the virtual letterbox is You by Old Town Crier, a solo project by multi-instrumentalist Jim Lough. From the initial kick-off titlular track, it grabs you. This opener has no small amount of the ghost of John Lennon hanging over it, but as the album goes on to show, this is no Beatles-pastiche. What would be the point of that?
Thin Blue Line is punchy and addictive, Dawnland is reflective and romantically nostalgic, and Coal River Mountain is a neat slice of raggle-taggle Americana, like a punked-up Steve Earl. Nice! Radio On puts the album to bed the way it came in, with a slightly post-Beatles, Lennonesque stompy, shouty singalong. Five tracks, one short, sharp and shockingly brilliant album!
To my shame, many things get stuck in the review pile that I mean to get around to penning but somehow don’t. About Time By Calum MacColl is one of those. I used to watch Calum play when he was one half of a duo alongside Black’s Colin Vearncombe, and more recently, he has taken Iain Harvie’s place in another favourite band of mine, Aliens. Also, Liberty Horses’ album Joyland remains a constant spin in my gaff.
But although he is a well-known and universally respected artist, he has either by desigtn or circumstance become one of life’s wingmen (but where would Bowie be without Ronno – discuss!) This is his first solo album, and the only question you have after even the first play is this. Why did he wait so long?
It’s a great collection of songs, for sure, and it covers a lot of ground. Good Enough is big, sassy, and groovesome. World Is Not Enough is sweet and soothing, shot through with acoustic chimes, shuffling beats, and seductive sonics, and Me and My Dog heads into rather pleasing Cat Steven’s territory.
There is even room for a couple of Aliens songs which can also be found on 30lbs of Air, the otherworldy Other Side, and the glorious tribute to the D-Day fallen, Liberation Road before the lovely and lilting parting glass that is You’ve Got To Go.
Another album that has been glaring menacingly at me out of the stack is Revolutions Go In Circles by Mark Mulholland, a man equally versed in breezy pop-rock and Celtic folk as he is in jazz or reggae or even psychedelic afro-beat. Travel, restlessness, and heading over the next hill are all high on the lyrical agenda here, and the opener Moving On, underlines his spirit of adventure perfectly.
In style, it sees him in singer-songwriter, troubadour mode. The album is full of folky-pop, acoustic singalongs, and, in the case of Walk A While, a gorgeously lulling and lilting Celtic ballad.
The evolution of the album itself, recorded in Bamako, Berlin, New York, and France, aided and abetted by a wealth of talent, speaks volumes about the man himself and his wandering spirit. However, the best thing about the album is that it still feels, for want of a better word…busker-y. Although each track has a full band driving it, generally, they form just a gentle sonic safety net for the songs rather than seeking to make their presence felt. Just as it should be.
A great album, as with the above album, apologies for my tardiness.
There you go, three great albums to check out and a new way of me working my way through more music each month. Everyone’s a winner, babe…as a wise man once said.