Justin Wells – The United State

Album Review | Singular Recordings | Review by Allan Wilkinson

The lines that map out the life of the woman who dominates the front cover shot of Justin Wells’ second album The United State, indicates a life well lived and one immediately suspects, a life lived through thick and thin, ups and downs and for better or for worse.  The songs on follow a similar time frame, a sort of cradle to the grave concept, starting “in the womb”, Wells tells us, and then “ends after death”, from the great unknown to the sombre twenty seconds of the funereal “Farewell Mr Hooper”.  

Wells is at pains to tell us that this project is a joint effort and that both the names and the faces of his collaborators are included in the sleeve.  A concept album of sorts, rather than just a collection of unconnected songs, the theme that runs through is the path we follow through life, stopping off at each stage.  With a distinct country feel and a familiar cracked vocal, not unlike that of the late Eric Taylor, songs such as the sneering “Never Better”, the bluesy “It’ll All Work Out” and the anthemic “Walls Fall Down” each help to tell a tale that is very much worth telling.  

Choice Track: The Bridge (NSV 507)