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
"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
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.
- Down And Able
- Remember My Markings
- I Started A Joke
- The List Of You And Me
- Brooklyn Song
- Sparky Marcus
- Less Of Me
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