Sunday, 27 March 2011

REVIEW: Alexi Murdoch - Towards The Sun

Creeping through the First Listen portal of a now threatened NPR, this album by Scotland's Alexi Murdoch is a sweet example of unanticipated listening ending in a satisfying purchase. Without advance streaming, I highly doubt I would be writing about Towards The Sun just now.

Having stumbled over it, though, I've now embraced the subtle delights of an album that demands little but deserves plenty. 

MP3: Alexi Murdoch - Towards The Sun
Taken from the album of the same name, out now

Murdoch's style has that same quiet power so strongly marshalled by acoustic maestro Jose Gonzalez, all intricate picking and hushed, confident vocals. Some Day Soon displays all these hall marks, the unassuming percussion emphasising the hopeful lilt of the guitar, as Murdoch delivers wistful reflections on family and friends.

Elsewhere, album centre piece Slow Revolution delivers a Frank Turner-style take on world upheaval, albeit at 1/4 the speed that the latter would normally employ. Even so, it allows time for the words to sink in; space for us to ruminate on similar matters ongoing in world politics. It's a quietly dark number that provides an album highlight.

A couple of things might grate about this release, one being the length of the songs, the other that there is little variation from the slow burning acoustic style. These really are trifling concerns, however, as the emotional variety and subtle changes in tone provide more than enough engagement over the 37 minutes running time.

An affecting release with heartfelt, atmospheric songwriting, Towards The Sun marks Mr Murdoch out as one of the acoustic singer-songwriter brigade who actually sticks in the memory, urging repeat listens. Give him just 30 minutes of your life. He'll quickly return the favour with the deepest contemplations of his own.

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