Luke is compared in this album’s sleeve notes to both Richard Thompson and Martin Simpson. There may be certain similarities and comparisons – of which more later – but what is immediately apparent is how much Luke has matured since his last album. He has come into his own and found a voice and sound that is uniquely his.
The songs on this album are a result of travelling 60,000 miles and playing over 200 shows. All those miles travelled and performing experience have certainly paid off. Luke is more confident and assured than ever.
The first thing we hear is Luke’s ‘sonic and mesmeric voice’(R2 Magazine) The opening song ‘The Man That Never Was’ is stark and beautiful, mostly Luke singing unaccompanied throughout, except for some very sparse guitar to punctuate it, it has the effect of grabbing the listeners attention from the very first note. The song is about the singer Glen Campbell who has Alzheimer’s disease. Luke is not afraid to tackle weighty subject matter on the album. The album is however very varied in terms of mood and content. ‘Treat Me Mean, Keep Me Keen’ opens with Luke’s trademark driving guitar style.
‘Finding Home’ a song about life on the road has Amy Wadge on backing vocals. The pair have gigged extensively together and their harmonies are a great pairing. ‘Better Man’ a love song, maintains the slow pace of the previous song and tells of the ‘sea and sand battling for ownership of land’. ‘Anything But Fate’ calls to mind ‘Shoot Out The Lights’ era Richard Thompson, probably lyrically as well as musically. The band, Andy Sharps (Bass & Backing Vocals) and Connor Downs (Percussion & Backing Vocals) really come to the forefront on this tune.
‘Leather And Chrome’ examines a father and son relationship and an ageing and ill father’s regret at dreams unfulfilled – those dreams will live on in the son. Luke is a great scene setter and storyteller and the narrative here is incredibly sophisticated. This song is arguably the album’s finest.
‘Aunt Sally’ has a jaunty melody and bluesy upbeat rhythm which is at odds with the subject matter of the song, which examines loneliness and physical and mental breakdown. ‘Kansas’ brings the pace right down. It is a yearning love song that was written in a USA hotel room in 20 minutes. Luke sings of coming home to his English rose as he mumbles – ‘a tired tune gently to my pillow’.
A song recorded in just one take ‘That’s All Folks’ is absolutely chilling. Luke’s guitar accompaniment is skeletal, spider like, almost sparse enough not to be there at all. It examines a lonely suicide. In the last verse, the character ponders leaving a note for those he/she is leaving behind but eventually can only muster ‘That’s All Folks’.
‘The Road’ ends the album on a much needed optimistic and upbeat note. This is a great chorus song and an obvious favourite at gigs. Luke is very very good there is no doubt. He says he thinks this is his ‘most complete album yet’ and I’m not going to argue with that. I also wholeheartedly agree with fRoots when they say Luke is an ‘unmistakable voice and striking individual talent’.
Nigel – The Goose is Out.
Categorised in: Reviews
This post was written by Luke