Sunday, June 26, 2011

If This Is A Man - There Is Hope In Small Things LP

Hear The Track Here

If This Is A Man is one John White, a one man band who contacted me for a review of his latest project There Is Hope In Small Things; an eleven track CD. Like most musicians, John covered his request with a number of caveats; the most important being that it was 'recorded and produced at home so the quality is a little hit and miss' Well, mate almost 99% of what I get to review comes under that category but when you consider what our home computers are capable of these days, that still sets a pretty high standard. He was also kind enough to let me have the tracks as full blooded WAV files, and if that isn't close to the recorded event then nothing is. No MP3 delivers the same aural quality.

Whatever you may think about the music and songs stylistically, there is no doubt that this guy spent a whole lot of time and patience putting all this together. I don't think most people would notice the technical bumps and flubs, but to my ears they are there (especially vocally) but that's home recording for you. I was writing in a review lately about how being indie musicians allows us to stretch ourselves further than (say) commercial music, the time and cost is irrelevant. If This Is A Man exemplifies this because I admit that I haven't come across much guitar based music that is as adventurous with sound as this CD. While the slow, very laid back style wouldn't normally catch my attention, the way John presents them to your ears ensure that you will listen just to see what he'll do next.

Musically this veers from influences such as Mike Oldfield (for the way it put together), old style singer/songwriters like Syd Barrett and Terry Reid to Soft Machine. So, being different, and somewhat off the beaten track, this may not appeal to everybody but it appeals to me because of that difference. No matter what kind of music you do these days, you can bet that it has been done before, all you can hope to do is put a new slant on it, and If This Is A Man has certainly achieved that. Every track on this CD shows a different side of what essentially guitar driven songs, and when you are that limited, its doubly hard to hold attention. A fine job, but try a track and see first.

Recommended (intelligent) guitar songs.

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