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-  Label: 'Irregular records'
-  Genre: 'Folk' -  Release Date: '23rd February 2018'-  Catalogue No: 'IRR109'

Our Rating:
Sadly, this album is anything but restless in any sense I was expecting. It's actually far more restful than anything. It begins slowly and quietly with Richmond Hill that doesn't remind me of drinking in the Lass O Richmond Hill or climbing the hill to get to Richmond Park. Indeed, if you went at this pace it would take a week to reach the top.

New Season is slightly faster but not much and he may sing about leaving it sounds more like he's sinking in to the sofa ready to fall asleep while sounding a lot like Andy White in his slower, more mordant moments.

Somewhere I can Be is a gentle lilt of a folksy blues song about wanting someone to pray for you and singing about the dearly departed who have just left. It's downbeat and heartfelt. Dream Of Home has some lovely flute to help us drift off and dream of the days of yore back where we first met. If that was in someone's front room listening to Incredible string band albums and wishing they were more straight forward like this, that is.

Escaping A Storm is like the calmest, most clear day you could imagine musically nothing storm-like at all. It's a gentle strum and again quite Andy White-esque. It also reminds me a bit of Neil McSweeney. It's OK but hardly memorable.

Restless Bones slows things down even further, like he can get out of a darkened room or see an upside to doing anything. This is just so restful I could easily fall asleep to this song. Trouble is too gentle to be the fight song it would clearly like to be mind being. It has a bit of a Brecht-ian feel on the musical side, but it needs to be more abrasive than it is.

I could happily listen to the flute part on This Idea Flies over and over or hear it used as a sample in a flute funk tune but the rest of the song is just downbeat and sad and sucking my will to sit here listening to this album. It's making me restless to do something else.

The violins on Butterfly Catcher are soothing me into my slumbers as is the rest of this slow, sad song. Yes, please, set John free - go on and do it soon or they'll make that gorgeous cello sound all night long!

The Black Ship is almost a sea shanty but not quite; it needs more life than it has, The lyrics are pretty good but it's far too meek. It should have the oomph of any of the good Pirate metal bands who do this stuff far better. Not that this is meant to be a Pirate tune but more of a Waterboys-style folk rocker.

The album closes with - oh yes - another slow, restful song in Stone In My Stomach, which is one way of describing the effect this album as on the listener. It ain't badly played or anything, just rather too down and a bit slow and poorly named as this album has no restlessness about it at all.

John Forrester online
  author: simonovitch

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