Serious Child – Time in the Trees

Album Review | Four Left Feet Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson

For this second album by Alan Young (Serious Child), we see the indie folk singer-songwriter leave the city behind for the Sussex woods, which provides the inspiration for these ten songs.  The close proximity to nature and in particular to the ‘ancient oak and beech woodland’ can be felt at the very least through the song titles alone, such as “Brambles”, “The Oak” and “Bonsai”, each relating to the great outdoors.  Produced by Boo Hewerdine, Time in the Trees also employs such diverse instruments as the Harmonium, Vibes, Dulcitone, Marxophone and that old Prog favourite, the Mellotron, all of which are essential in creating an ethereal feel throughout the album. 

There’s a Scott Walker quality to Young’s vocal delivery, which is clear, unambiguous and thoroughly engaging throughout, peppered in places with John McCusker’s fiddle and whistle, which adds a further touch of class.  This is a soothing album, with a gentleness that mirrors the environment in which Young and his chosen musicians find themselves.  A desire to get away from social media and back to the garden. “Falling” seems to stand out in style, and comes from a slightly different angle, a song that wouldn’t be out of place in a Brecht/Weill collaboration; a moment of burlesque, or should that be Newton-esque respite?  With a song inspired by renowned Bonsai master Chiako Yamamoto (“Bonsai”) and a brief look into the world of botanist Dr Mark A Spencer (“Brambles”), this is an album to pop on your portable player and listen to whilst strolling through your nearest forest.

Choice Track: Falling (NSV 499)