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The Last Round Up

Here's few we almost missed

As we reach the end of the year with time rushing us down, here's a few that made it under the wire, not enough time for the full review, time enough to get a flavour.

***** Classic album, standout artist - a joy to listen to anywhere
**** Great album - the perfect soundtrack to a long car journey
*** Good album - pleasant background in the car - but nothing unique
** You have to be a fan of this music/artist. I've spared you a review
* You are either the artist or a close relative. (As I'm not, sorry no review)


The Winterlings - American Son ***

(www.winterlings.com)
A Washington State duo comprising Wolff Bowden and Amanda Birdsall, this is their second album in as many years, a collection of alt-folk Americana veined with shades of blues, country and rock built around guitars, drums, violin and banjitar. It opens in striking form with the gravelly strains of Bowden singing 'The Ghost of Leonard', a lyrically powerful state of the nation lament inspired by the late Leonard Cohen. Political statements loom large too on the driving 'American Son' and the Prine-like acoustic waltzer 'World To Change'. Birdsall sings lead on two songs, the wistfully romantic 'Gold' with its Civil War song styled, harmonica-accompanied melody, and the optimistic 'Sunspeech', while the pair also duet on the legend tale of 'Owl Mountain'. The lyrics repay listening ('Puget Sound' sports the brilliant image "You were like a novel with the first ten pages burned before we met") while the handclaps percussion of 'That Was Alaska' show their musical invention too. A very definite grower. MD

Bonefish - Atoms ****

(bonefishswe.com/)
Atoms is Swedish band Bonefish's second album, taking influences from the 70s and 80s and giving them a modern twist. There's a touch of Talking Heads to Bonefish, especially in the title track that opens the album, but at times their songs also have the epic sweep of Elbow, and the driving indie rock cool of Doves. While the heavy influences occasionally threaten to unbalance the album, surprisingly it all works impressively well. Atoms is the highlight, but the three in a row of Kissing In The Rain, I See Your Heart, and Hey Hi Ho in the second half are a delight. This comes highly recommended. AJ

The Deadbeat Apostles - No Hope Or Forgiveness ****

(thedeadbeatapostles.co.uk/)
Some say they crawled out of the swamp land out beyond the bayou… and that part of their bio should tell you a lot about the quirkiness of The Deadbeat Apostles. Their EP No Hope Or Forgiveness is equally eccentric in places, with an impressive variety on show. All three songs are different from the others. Bad Foot sounds like a song Tarantino would stick in one of his films, an achingly cool track with a great beat. Blood On My Pillow is a country number, about partners who up and leave without a by-your-leave. Male Man is a frenetic exploration of masculinity, which will leave you breathless by the end. AJ

Dan Sumner - Storm On An Island ***

(www.dansumner.co.uk/)
Featuring songs of love, politics, murder, and all that lies between, Sumner's debut album is an enjoyable experience. It's a modern sounding mix of folk and blues, with an electric thrum that permeates throughout, and at times Sumner's vocals are reminiscent of Jarvis Cocker. He doesn't shy away from the fact that his songs are overtly political. The Rising Tide covers the refugee crisis and the media backlash against them, picking out The Daily Mail in particular. Money Brings The House Down features a banker on trial. The title track is the standout, highlighting Sumner's vocal range, and the cover of John Martyn's One World is very good too. Definitely worth a listen. AJ

Jim Byrnes - Long Hot Summer Days ***

(www.jamestbyrnes.com/)
If you've ever wondered what a combination of Johnny Cash and Tom Jones would sound like, look no further. Byrnes versions of such classics such as The Shape I'm In and Leonard Cohen's Everybody Knows are certainly different, melding blues and soul with great accompaniment from his band. The highlight of the album is probably Bobby Marchan's There Is Something On Your Mind, which is wonderfully brooding. Percy Sledge's Out Of Left Field runs it pretty close though. Very enjoyable covers album with a twist. AJ

Hans Chew - Open Sea ***

(hanschew.com/)
Album number 4 from Hans Chew sees a slight change, as he spends a little more time on the guitar and a little less on the piano. His unique brand of Americana/R&B/Rock and Roll is still a very satisfying listen, and these songs are given plenty of time to breathe giving it a 70s feel, with stretched instrumental sections cropping up regularly. It never feels overindulgent though, and the likes of the title track, and Freely, will leave you nodding along and tapping the steering wheel. Who Am Your Love is a particular highlight, a 70s style rock number which is the shortest track on the album, but still feels epic. At only six songs this is a short album (albeit with long arrangements), but you won't feel short changed. AJ

Ramona Rose - Grand Canyon ***

(ramonaroseuk.wixsite.com/music
Leeds based American artist Ramona Rose has an exception voice, full of strength and depth. Grand Canyon is a great showcase for her vocal range, rock and roll with a tough of blues. Rose has already been garnering attention after her first single, Jealous Heart, was well received. Grand Canyon should certainly serve to keep the spotlight on her, with its polished sound and deceptive power picking out Ramona Rose as one to watch for 2018. AJ

Owen Moore - Songs From Small Hotel Rooms By The Sea ***

(www.owenmooremusic.com/)
Owen Moore is a south coast based singer-songwriter, street busker with a prolific line in albums that have been honed in the classic three chords and the truth tradition and then refined around small clubs and seafronts. It also gives Moore plenty of chance to observe the world going past, the good with the bad. If there is one flaw with the album it is a little bit hooky, but that's born out of the requirement of needing to get people to stop and throw money into a cap. "Songs From Small Hotel Rooms By The Sea" is another well penned set or original songs well worthy of your attention. NK

Ross Ainslie - Sanctuary ****

(rossainslie.com)
2017 and been a great year for instrumental albums and Ross Ainslie's third solo album, "Sanctuary" is no exception to that rule. Ross has been on both a real and metaphysical journey and this album picks up on discoveries made along the way. It doesn't just bring Indian influences into a Celtic base, it seeks to release the spirit from some of the bindings that were holding it back, including in Ross' case alcohol. Without the need for words to articulate, the is an album that is clearer in purpose, one that turns personal experience into tunes that feel like they matter to a wider audience with risking sounding preachy. Consequently with a little help from his friends, Ross has delivered an album that lives up to its name and provides a safe space to get away from it all and rebuild. NK

Circumnavigate - When Worlds Collide ***

(www.circumnavigatemusic.com)
Scandinavia continues to produce great music, with Norwegian four piece Circumnavigate the latest to make an impression on the Fatea office. "When World's Collide" is a big album, almost filmic in its vision and it's not a coincidence that songs from Circumnavigate are beginning to make an impression in that medium. With a Scandi-pop edge this is an album that feels like it's been half recorded in black and white, half in glorious technicolour. Sigrid has a vocal that can handle big themes and big sounds, whilst their time in London brings with it a delightful cynicism to give the whole a bit of extra bite. NK

Matthew Robb - Spirit In The Form ***

(matthewrobb.com/)
Originally hailing from Lancashire, now based in Cologne, via living wild in the Andes and Rockies, "Spirit In The Form" is an Americana inspired collection of poems and reflections on a life lived. Matthew Robb, strikes as the sort of bloke that could easily put in a seventeen hour day, so long as it wasn't anything to do with the nine to five and stayed miles away from the rat race. This feels like a homespun album, both in the philosophy and the ways it's been put together. It's got a constructed well if not around a campfire definitely in a session, type feel to it. It's got those wonderful contradictions of being his own man, but also part of an alternative community feel. It works well for Matthew Robb and does the listener no harm at all. NK

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