Thursday, August 14, 2008
Hollowbody - Inside the Wolves
Just when you thought that there were too many young men with beards playing folky music, another one comes along and claims his place in the room labelled 'high quality folky music played by young men with beards'. This one goes by the name of Hollowbody, and I first came across him when his alias, Dan Weltman leapt from his Bristol home and into my inbox. A quick visit to his myspace confirmed that Dan's tunes were worth more than a cursory listen, and the arrival of his new album Inside the Wolves only confirms that he's a lot better than many of the other chaps playing a similar game.
Weltman recorded the album at his home in Bristol, and apparently he's "fascinated by the transition of musical tastes over the last century" and wants to explore the "middle ground" between the worlds of the "great old songwriters [and] the care they put into their work" and the "more expressionist things everyone listens to today". Whatever that means, the result is a pleasingly trim album - eight tracks with not an ounce of body fat. Mostly just Dan and his acoustic guitar. The highlights for me are the first two tracks. Opener Juliet, I'm Running is lovely little thing, with its banjo, sweet backing vocals, harmonica and subtle trumpet blending perfectly. It isn't so much running as sauntering happily over a hill on a sunny day. Possibly even better is Chains, with its infectious plucked guitar riff. That it reminds me a lot of James Yorkston probably enhances its appeal no end.
I'm not sure if Hollowbody has reached his goal of "walking a line from this imagined tradition towards a new sound", but his sound certainly is an appealing one. The beauty of the opening tracks is followed by six more consistently good ones. It's a solid album of delicate melodies, if that doesn't sound like a contradiction in terms. All very highly recommended.
mp3: Hollowbody - Juliet, I'm Running
mp3: Hollowbody - Chains
Buy Inside the Wolves from the Hollowbody myspace.