Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Benjamin Wetherill - Laura

Here's another cracker from Manchester's excellent Red Deer Club Records. I've already written on these pages about the label's other artists Sara Lowes and Sophie's Pigeons, whose records have been good, but this album is surely Red Deer's best yet.

The artist in question in Benjamin Wetherill, who hails from Leeds and has created in his debut album Laura a thing of delicate and exquisite beauty. The term 'folk' is liberally applied these days and can used to describe anything from acoustic pop to proper old beardy man's finger picking. Wetherill certainly leans towards the latter despite being a youngster. His music has plenty nods towards old pastoral English folk, but there's a more cosmopolitan twist which comes courtesy of Jeremy Barnes of A Hawk and Hacksaw fame. Barnes spotted Benjamin whilst on tour and offered to produce his album, which in turned led to them hooking up with Jeremy's Hungarian mates The Hun Hangar Ensemble and recording Laura in a disused 19th century palace on the outskirts of Budapest. Their magic touch, all haunting trumpets and strings, give it a Eastern European flavour which combined with the inherent Englishness and Wetherill's quavering vocals, elevates the album from being merely good to something a lot more special. Already a contender for my albums of the year, I reckon.

Check out a couple of tunes.

mp3: Benjamin Wetherill - Kissing Under Poplars
mp3: Benjamin Wetherill - Oh Sorrow

The album is out now in the UK on Red Deer Club, and in the US on Ba Da Bing (the home of Beirut, natch). Buy from the labels via the links or download from emusic.


Campfires and Battlefields said...

Lovely and lonesome. His voice has a tremulous quality that reminds me of Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater, or maybe even Christopher Denny a bit. This needs to be heard on vinyl.

Tim & Macey said...
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The Daily Growl said...

Hmmm... spot on with the Meiburg comparison I think. He also reminds me a bit of David Thomas Broughton (don't know if you know his stuff - brilliant). In a way, DTB might be the bridge between Wetherill and Antony Hegarty.

Unfortunately I don't think this album is available on vinyl (not in the UK anyway). If you're listening Red Deer or Ba Da Bing, you know what to do...

Campfires and Battlefields said...

The name David Thomas Broughton rings a bell, but I can't place him. I'll definitely check him out though. I checked the Ba Da Bing site and don't see any vinyl on offer in the States either. Shame.

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