Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson
Like Leonard Cohen before him, Mr Alec Bowman’s limited vocal range has its benefits, where almost spoken passages and gentle instrumentation brings to the fore the poetry in this album’s lyrical content. When you’re in the process of revealing so much of yourself in such a personal way, then those words should be heard as clearly and unambiguously as possible. This is where Alec’s strengths lie, in his ability to tell the story honestly and clearly without the frills of an over-emphasised style.
Producer Josienne Clarke makes several appearances as a multi-instrumentalist collaborator, with the occasional vocal contribution, yet remains pretty much in the shadows, a whisper of encouragement here and there, sharing the love and the occasional joke. Despite the dark and brooding lyrical content, there’s a refreshingly light and airy feel to the album as a whole, as suggested in Trevor Hamilton’s optimistic cover shot, reminiscent of Judy Collins’ Wildflowers LP from over half a century ago. With a pinch of Nick Cave, a sprinkling of Robyn Hitchcock, half a spoonful of Syd Barrett and a whole dollop of Mr Alec Bowman, I Used To Be Sad & Then I Forgot is something you might choose to play on a Sunday morning when everyone’s still asleep.
Choice Track: Hand in Hand (NSV 497)