Ned Roberts is a London based singer / songwriter who has been getting plays on both national and regional BBC stations and his self-titled début album in 2014 drew favourable reviews from both The Guardian and Uncut. That has now been followed up with new release Outside My Mind and it's easy to see why he's attracting a following.
The album has a spontaneous feel to it. It was recorded in only 5 days, onto tape to limit the number of takes available, and gives a good feel for how he would sound live. Ned's rich voice is melodious, with a good range meaning that he never stretches to reach a note. He's a storyteller, too, with the music being used to back the words but never overpower them.
The title track, which closes the album, is a moving song about a love that could have been but never shall be. The characters are meeting again, after some time, and whilst realising it's over they still don't want to make that final break.
So goodbye my love, goodbye
Tell me when you're passing next time
But don't go, don't go just yet
They stand in the darkness, little said.
That's the theme of the album; love songs but not generally the sort of love that sets the heart soaring. Ned Roberts has been compared to Leonard Cohen and his songs of melancholy and regret would support that. He can certainly use his voice to give full impact to the words.
This is an album of beautiful songs, not for dancing to but for listening to in those times of quiet contemplation where we think "if only" and perhaps remind ourselves of the things we should say but never do.
Maybe you don't know it but I want you babe
I can't seem to tell you, maybe I'm just afraid.
Outside My Mind is available to pre-order via the artist's website as both download or CD and also through Bandcamp, ahead of its release on 24th March. There are tour dates in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Sheffield before the official launch in London on the 29th. Details and ticket links can also be found on his website.
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