Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5
Finn Paul has the perfect voice for his classic acoustic material, looking backwards it has the distinctive lilt of Donovan and a touch of more contemporary Nick Mulvay. Scottish singer songwriter and guitarist Finn draws on growing up in Perthshire and memories of Joni Mitchell, John Martyn, Sandy Denny and Led Zeppelin, among others soundtracking childhood car journeys. “Spanish Silver” is an evocative song, layered guitars, Psych sounds and a emotional layered vocal, mandolin ending that is straight out of “The Battle of Evermore”. “The Watcher” is a more stripped back affair, the focus is on Finn’s voice slipping from restrained to looser on the choruses. His guitar part is a subtle delight too. “Norwegian Sea” reminds me of Mulvey, Finn Paul’s voice set against rippling keys and atmospherics, drawing you in. “Treat Her Fair” is mantra like, a crooned soulful love song with Finn like a folky Van Morrison riffing on the chorus, building up a sublime vibe. Blissed out music that locks into an atmospheric groove, with Daisy Tempest’s vocals a final delight.
“Anna” opens with a electro acoustic shimmering interlude that recalls John Martyn. Finn’s vocal is so soulful like the best of Ben Howard or Damien Rice, solo or layered this is love song quiet moment perfection. A mood piece of aching emotion that is crying out to be soundtrack music or on a million beak up playlists. “Fortune” continues the intimate folk soul mood, Finn’s ability to repeat a word, Morrison like, playing with the subtle differences and inflections is just a delight. “Dance It All Away”, a song of regrets, is built around producer Angus Lyon’s beautiful, sparse, piano part. Finn delivers the ballad with restraint and power, could be another James Bay on the rise here. The title track has a delicately pastoral guitar part more Anthony Philips Genesis than Folk with rich Cello and violin later, Paul’s vocal double tracked and emotional is, the real star against this foil, rolling the words and using every nuance fully, great closer.
A wonderful debut album that nods to the past, contemporaries and hints of a great future.
Choice Track: “The Watcher” (NSV 487)