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James William Hindle
James William Hindle
Badman Recordings


Soaring through the air like a young sparrow hawk on the trail of the fleeting Mark Kozelek eagle comes James Hindle. His debut record was produced with the help of Kozelekís past producers, and his songs are in the vein of same said Kozelek. So fans of the Red House Painters rejoice! A new voice to brighten your saddened, tired ears. Following in the footsteps of the mentorious Koz, Hindle sings in a loping, swinging tenor with nary a nod towards his true accent, being from the vicinity of Yorkshire. Hindle deserves a chance to breathe new life into the trance-folk genre, and here are eight reasons why:

On "Down And Able" James Hindle introduces us to his abilities as a songwriter and lyricist, as well as an arranger of a semi-classical usage of modern instrumentation. His music is mellow, yet has tones of desperation and need not often found in the genre that this album will most likely appeal to. The Emo-folk, as it were, a trend known well for its acoustic guitars and slow drums, and occasional strings. "Remember My Markings" continues with the sparse musical arrangements, guitar and gently swinging drumbeats, and adds the beautiful drone of a bass viol to carry the song to new heights of sonic magnificence. Itís better now youíre here with me/Itís better than it ever can be. /So much that Iíve said/so little Iíve done/Iím lost in my head/everythingís come undone/ just to make it all right/just to make it okay." Then comes one of my worst nightmares, a cover of the Brothers GibbĎs "I Started A Joke", which Iíve always seen as a joke not worth repeating. To his credit, Hindle does a masterful job of somehow squeezing a bit of poignancy out of this trite example of BeeGeeís songwriting. Better covers later though folks. "(Masks)" drops the guitar and descends to a bass viol carried tune about loss and rebirths of sorts. Here the voice of the songwriter makes the difference between a sonic disaster and a skillfully presented sad song. With nothing to hide behind in the mix, it is wonderful to have a young talent with a voice worthy of being recorded and heard.

"The List Of You And Me" adds back the guitars and drums, but still retains the strings as the forefront of the musical meat. The song is probably the fastest tempo on the record and very organic, with Hindleís voice struggling into the falsettos that he has so lovingly knit into the fabric of the song. "Brooklyn Song" is a sparse arrangement once again bringing to the fore the voice and guitar ability of Hindle. It is by far my favorite song of the record, and creates vibrant images of a cold winterís day in the city. And I made it here/ in one piece/And Iím happy here/thatís to say the least. /Feel the Brooklyn cold as I pass/by the places walked in my past. "Sparky Marcus" is a softly swinging tale of joyful insignificances. Joined on harmony vocals by Tarnationís Paula Frazer, this song is as secretly intense lyrically as it is musically. Hindle rounds out his debut with a nod towards the country side of things with his rendition of Glen Campbellís "Less Of Me". He does the song justice in the translation of a country-gospel tune to the ambience of the trance-folk, and finds exquisite nuances that many would never believe existed in the songs of Campbell, taking a simple song and making it simply more beautiful. And that warbling fiddle certainly doesnít hurt to aid the ambient feelings of a heart being torn apart while it is struggling to rebuild itself into something deeper and lovelier, and of more use to itís possessor.

Forsaking modernism, and tuning his guitars into a more traditional sound, James Hindle has created a masterful debut album, full of intense lyrical content and lulling sounds. He effortlessly weaves the two things together to create an aural painting of vivid colors and harrowing imagery, with only a small deviation here and there.

On a scale of one to tenÖOne being a drunk and angry dissatisfied Mark Kozelek, and ten being Mark Kozelek in his trance state of presenting beautiful music with the Red House Painters, James Hindle slides in easily at nine. Easy to listen to, non-confrontational, and full of glorious sonic loveliness.

ĖDavid DeVoe

Track Listing:

  1. Down And Able
  2. Remember My Markings
  3. I Started A Joke
  4. (Masks)
  5. The List Of You And Me
  6. Brooklyn Song
  7. Sparky Marcus
  8. Less Of Me

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