Music tends to fall into one of a few categories; there are the musicians who deserve the title, they know their instrument inside out, know music theory inside out and can create and structure a piece like an architect. Everything in its correct place, the building blocks are the chords, melody and rhythm, yet they’re the ones tinkering away in a studio, chipping away at the labyrinth of possibilities yet their music goes, mostly, unheard.
Then we have the people thrust into the public domain on the back of their commercial look or sound, those clever studio bosses recognise a fast buck in an instant, they’re smeared across magazine clovers, daytime radio slots and shift millions of albums then left in the gutter with a form of addiction, faltering bank balance and ex-wife as soon as the next big thing comes along. And then there is the underground artist, the musician that doesn’t necessarily sell millions of albums but still manages to sell out venues and gain a reputation as being a musicians’ musician. Ian Prowse is one of these.
I reviewed an album of his last year called ‘Here I Lie’, I said that it reminded me of Del Amitri and Deacon Blue and was a postcard to the musical heritage of Liverpool with it’s tales of the streets and it’s nod to the Irish influence. ‘The Story of Ian Prowse’ is a Best Of, culminating tracks from previous albums (and one new track) and putting them in one place for you to enjoy.
The music is a blend of folk, indie and Celtic and the blend is pretty effective, from the storming opener of ‘Home’ we’re taken on a train journey where we stop off at powerful songs as if they were train stations, each with a slightly different feel but each connected seamlessly, through ‘Fireworks’, ‘Somethings Changed’ (that has a strikingly similar melody to ‘Look Of Love’ by ABC), ‘The Ballad Of North John Street’ before reaching the journeys end at ‘Only The Love’.
From the promo I read about Prowse, I always get the feeling that he’s pitched as a closely-guarded secret, music fans love the thought of being the first to discover someone (only then deserting them when they become popular, or as they would put it, commercialised) and his name somehow points to it being cool to like him. He fronted two indie bands previous to this; ‘Pele’ and ‘Amsterdam’ so I imagine his fan base has a foundation of fans from those two bands. His song writing is good, the Irish influence is very good and matches his folk roots nicely while also giving things a boost of energy.
Fans of Ian Prowse will no doubt want to compile their own ‘best of’, we all have different favourites, but if you weren’t already a fan of him, well this is the perfect introduction to the man and his work and well worth a listen.