Robert Severin – Postcard From Budapest

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5

Robert Severin is a British-Hungarian, Glasgow based singer songwriter. Postcard From Budapest, a collection of acoustic biographical and reflective songs, accompanied by his guitar and the wonderful Innotet string quartet, is his debut release. With a voice that reminds me of Boo Hewerdine, or a reflective David Gilmour, Robert delivers intimate songs, beautifully accompanied. The whole album, from the atmospheric cover shoot, the marbled pages on the booklet, the gathered photos and ephemera, the shots of Severin reflective on location, is carefully constructed with attention to detail and a writer or cinematographer’s eye.

On songs like the wonderful “Nightingale” the voices of Seonaid Aitken and Innes Watson, swell the music further creating a positively uplifting atmosphere. Chillingly atmospheric is “Crimson Burned The Night”, a tale of a Budapest mother who survived the wartime ghetto and the Holocaust, to die on Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie. Roberts, clarinet and wordless vocal accompaniment alongside his picked guitar provides a poignant note on this beautifully observed piece. Historic radio chatter gives atmospheric context at the start of “Leaving Motherland”, a song Robert’s mother, fleeing Hungary in 1956. Layered vocals, the radio and a mournful clarinet capture the mixed emotions perfectly and create poetry. “Blank Page” with a waft of The Beatles “She’s Leaving Home” is another emotional and captivating song and performance, personal but written to be applicable to many dealing with loss and severance. “September 89”, filled with real life detail, recalls true love and ends the album looking back to look forward in hope with another delicately beautiful arrangement.

Full of personal, poetic, reflective songs, delivered and lifted by wonderful playing and sympathetic arrangements this is an album of quiet time. This is the musical equivalent of spending a moment reading well thumbed poetry in a quiet city square, as time stands still.