Birmingham's Josh Herring, And Everyone - album review
The term 'singer-songwriter' can fill reviewers with dread.
Thoughts of another musician, acoustic in hand, playing safe, middle-of-the-road tales of love lost can do little to stimulate the senses.
There's nothing wrong with the music they produce, there's just nothing different. Nothing stand-out. Nothing remarkable.
So it brings great joy when a singer-songwriter like Josh Herring pushes the boat out a bit and tries something a little more. The simple can be done in a more interesting and engrossing way.
Birmingham-born and now Amsterdam-based, Josh uses piano, guitar, bass, and some haunting and claustrophobic atmospherics to craft his tunes.
It's his debut record, written while overlooking Edgbaston Reservoir and recorded in King's Heath with Luke Morrish-Thomas, who deserves huge kudos for the production here.
His lyrics do tackle the subject of relationships, but the more complex situations we find ourselves in throughout life.
"It's not like I love you, it's not like I need you, just want to be in your life," he sings on Caravans, while on the track Almost, his guest vocalist laments: "He never loved me. I loved him, almost."
This track is one of the album's best works. The echoing piano and clarinet utilised throughout bounce off the walls of our consciousness and the powerful female voice is allowed room to breathe. It's an emotive, beautiful and ultimately sad track that has to be heard.
It's not all doom and gloom. The upbeat funky bass in Heard This And Thought Of You uses pace and staccato lyricism to build a fun-time track that is a warm and welcoming number to start any day with.
And his debut single Down The Wire slides lazily between the two mentioned above. Part bar-stool drinking song in the early hours at some dusty backstreet boozer, part confident and cool romp through the realms of pop, rock and jazz. It's a mixture of styles once again which allows Josh - whose voice carries more than a slight resemblance to Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody - to hold court over the swirling music around him.
There hasn't been too much fanfare to herald this album's arrival and that's a shame. People should here this for the brutally honest and stripped back beauty it hides within it's understated creations.
Josh Herring launches this debut album in a joint show with former Unsigned column stars Odmansbox at the Hare & Hounds in King's Heath this Thursday. Odmansbox will be launching their EP A Low Key Affair on the day.
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