Alright, this review is going to be a hymn about musical magic, vocal perfection and unlimited creativity.
Son of Town Hall is a duo formed only this year consisting of Ben Parker (UK) and David Berkeley (US). One single and the EP Son of Town Hall is what they have come up with so far. Ben Parker is a well-established musician, tutor (John Lennon biopic 'Nowhere Boy') and composer (BBC 3 "How not to live your life")) and was part of the duos Ben & Jason and The Chain both of which provided marvellous contributions to the musical universe and had vast potential to be recognized worldwide.
The same is true for Ben's new project Son of Town Hall. With David Berkeley he has found a musical partner who seems to have similarly high standards regarding the quality of songs, performance and sound. They are both excellent guitarists and vocalists and their vocals seem to match so perfectly, no comparison would be too daring….Simon & Garfunkel come to mind. Now, what makes them really special is their pure and minimalized way of both performing and recording. That's why the Son of Town Hall EP sounds just as natural and authentic as a life recording. Recorded by Jono Manson at the Kitchen Sink studio in New Mexico, USA and produced by themselves, this EP is a true treasure: Four wonderful songs played on beautiful old Gibson guitars and sung effortlessly with the most mesmerizing harmonies. I can't stop listening and I think no one musical could. The songs reflect on love and life and with every line express experience in both real life and finest song writing. I just love listening to mature musical poetry like this.
All four songs are equal beauties and the whole EP is an absolute masterpiece in every respect: The displayed musicianship, the warm and at the same time clear sound, the vocal qualities and the magnificent song writing. I don't, however, want to hide my extra love for Ben Parker's singing. As I mentioned earlier, he does get recognition for his achievements as tutor and composer, also for his guitar skills but his qualities as one of the best singers I have heard, ever, have not been emphasized enough. The most wondrous thing to me is the numerous styles he has mastered. He can sing with the same intensity as Jeff Buckley, the same range as Freddy Mercury and the same diversity as Damien Rice. On this EP he sings softly and gentle with a lovely subtle chest vibrato here and there. Besides, he is an absolutely amazing harmony singer: While holding back his own vocal strength he can completely devote his concentration to the sake of the song and melt into any given melody.
But then the Son of Town Hall EP once more proves the old truth that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It's certainly the release of the year to me. Son of Town Hall should be world famous. They will be
|Dave Swarbrick: It Suits Me Well: The Transatlantic Recordings 1976-1983||Session Americana with Jefferson Hamer: Great Shakes|
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