Paul Openshaw
Album: Crop Circles
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

When I reviewed Paul's earlier CD The Potting Shed barely three months ago for this site, I was impressed by the commendable "less is more" quality that marked both his songs and their delivery, and Crop Circles is a further collection of self-penned songs that win me over with their directness of expression that exhibits a straightforward appeal and a healthy balance of wit and right-on sensitivity.

The disc's title song is (quite rightly) profiled first in the running order, since it achieved semi-finalist status in the 2012 UK Songwriting Contest, while three further selections also made it to final stages of song contests; and it's easy to understand why. For there are some real gems of songwriting here, from the caustic Bad Friday and the tell-it-like-it-is I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and Narcolepsy, also from the tenderly reflective My Sister's Eyes and If You Should Take Your Love From Me to the somewhat Jake-Thackray-esque The Sting.

Aside perhaps from the occasional example of slightly predictable construction (the portrait of banker Fred The Shred - oh, what can one say that hasn't been said already?!), this is a creditable set that should definitely endear Dorset-based P.J. (wonder why he's dropped the J.?) to even more listeners.

David Kidman