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.