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The Sad Song Co. The Sad Song Co.
Album: Worth
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 9

The Sad Song Co. - the solo outlet for Frank Turner's drummer, Sleeping Soul Nigel Powell. He's also a quarter of Dive Dive and former member of Unbelievable Truth. Well versed then in various projects, yet 'Worth' is his fourth album as The Sad Song Co. Having covered the theme of stories around an old people's home on 'Poignant Device', 'Worth' finds him pulling in the influences from prog and indie, twisted, tuned and combined with pop suss.

'Lifestyles' a song rebooted from 1994, all awaiting baptism from John at the water's edge, the dark becoming alive, rings with an atmosphere alongside a steady hypnotic pulse as the sort of album opener that offers a tasty bite to reel you in. The vague lyrical thread turns out to be about proving yourself; the idea of risk versus reward - the questions of is it worth getting into a relationship and what is friendship worth ultimately proving to deliver a more personal and revealing set of songs. The personal and introspective comes to the party on the mid album trio of 'Lonely Is A State Of Mind' (a shuffling poptastic chart pusher if ever there were one), 'Einmal Is Keinmal' and the more simple piano based 'Islands'.

Much has been made of his love of progressive rock that lends itself into 'This Body Beautiful' - perhaps it's the change in dynamics from the innocuous opening that shifts gear into a more expansive direction complete with searing and soaring guitar solo. On the other hand, it may just be the Chris T-T lyric co-write. An electronic direction surfaces in 'I Don't See It' with the optimism and positivity of "stay calm, there's always a light out there" and in the lengthy album closer, almost nine minutes of 'Wounded Lion' that hips and hops along before another blast of guitar breaks the surface and elevates the track into another dimension.

Assessing his own self worth, possibly tinged with self doubt yet with an outlook that bleeds optimism, Nigel Powel should be buoyed by the strength of the under the radar song crafting of 'Worth'.

Mike Ainscoe