Extremely anticipated sophomore album delivers on all of the promise of their debut.
It’s now over three years since Our Man In The Field’s debut album ‘Firm Of Strangers’, created such a optimistic affect each right here at AUK in addition to throughout the broader musical panorama. A string of dwell performances taking part in help for the likes of Jerry Joseph and The Delines adopted by a triumphant headline tour final yr additional cemented the band’s place as one of the crucial thrilling and talked about acts presently on the Americana scene. It’s subsequently with little shock that the pending launch of their sophomore album ‘Gold On The Horizon’, has generated such anticipation and pleasure. This new providing has been recorded in Portland, Oregon beneath the watchful eye of Producer Tucker Martine who has beforehand labored with a few of the cream of the Americana music style together with such luminaries as The Jayhawks, First Help Equipment, My Morning Jacket, and Rosanne Money, which together with a powerful supporting solid of musicians instantly means that issues have come alongside approach because the launch of the debut album, musically as effectively geographically.
The album opens with ‘Really feel Good’, a observe that these lucky sufficient to have caught the band dwell during the last twelve months will already be accustomed to, telling the story of how Ellis was ripped off by a former appearing agent. Nonetheless, this studio model lifts the track to a brand new stage with Ellis’ soulful narrative beautifully supported by the percussive pulse of the rhythm part, the attractive harmonic chants from the Dimpker brother together with the brass accompaniment through the center eight all serving to to empower this observe to anthemic proportions. A really great begin to proceedings. That is adopted by one other acquainted quantity ‘Come Again To Me’, and the story of reconnecting with an old style pal after lockdown. Right here the accompaniment is extra delicate, gently caressing the lyrical intimacy of Ellis’ thematic story of actual individuals throughout present occasions. Ellis has established himself as one of many best writers of current years with a songcraft that takes his assortment of life’s observations and infuse them with a eager eye and a poet’s soul while nonetheless avoiding the melodramatic, focusing reasonably on being the storyteller than being the main focus of the story. The inspiration for observe three ‘L’Etranger’, comes from the debut novel of French creator Albert Camus of which Ellis studied for French ‘A’ stage and focuses on the facility of changing into self-reliant. Right here once more the track has a powerful percussive beat this time created by a Nationwide Metal guitar put by means of a drum loop as Ellis’ sings “(within the) firm of strangers I’m as completely satisfied as will be”, cleverly supplying a connection to the debut launch. A line from the next observe ‘Silver Lining’, provides this album’s title with Ellis’ vocal supply revealing a slight trace of Bob Dylan with shades of ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door’, the association consisting of harmonica and organ all underscored by Henry Senior’s pedal metal that’s liable for a lot of the albums great atmospheric depth. The high quality dips barely by means of the center part the place observe 5 ‘Nice White Hope’, feels barely obscure and disjointed whereas ‘Go Straightforward’, regardless of its laid-back infectious refrain and meritorious material feels to simplistic, missing the identical stage of lyrical depth and delicate perception achieved on earlier numbers.
Ellis’ power lies in his skill to relate the tales of peculiar individuals of their on a regular basis lives, his unassuming method disguising an empathetic consciousness of the world round him, his supply, like one of the best roving reporters excessive on content material, much less on emotion, while by no means shedding the human contact. The following two tracks ‘Glad To See You’, and ‘Final Dance’, are each tremendous instance of these attributes, the primary a track he common dedicates to the NHS throughout dwell performances, the second about some associates’ traumatic break up, his heartfelt narrative like a fly on the wall witnessing the ache with out ever casting blame all performed towards a jaunty association of fiddle and harmonica to create the proper juxtaposition. The penultimate observe ‘The Street (Interlude)’, is an atmospheric instrumental of which the track itself will seem as a bonus observe on the second run of the album, which in reality one can’t assist however discover a little bit perplexing. Nonetheless the ultimate quantity ‘Lengthy Forgotten’, sees order restored with Ellis returning to his favorite position because the outsider. Outdoors of the legislation, of affection, of dwell, at all times wanting in or again at what he both misplaced or by no means had whereas a collage of sound created by the pedal metal, piano, synth drone and feminine harmonies makes an attempt to deliver solace because it wraps itself round this desolate soul.
With ‘Gold On The Horizon’, Our Man In The Field have delivered on the promise of their debut producing a physique of labor that emphasises a newfound confidence and maturity while nonetheless retaining the humility and intimacy that garnered them a lot of their early plaudits. Credit score should additionally go to Martine together with multi-instrumentalist Luke Ydstie who collectively have helped to create a musical panorama, wealthy in selection that at no time ever sounds cluttered however typically acts as the proper conduit for Ellis’ cinematic and ruminative narratives. Most of all this new album emphasises that Alex Ellis is clearly one of many best songwriters to emerge on the Americana music scene for a lot of a yr.