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ReidGraves: Lovely As Suspicion

When I played the debut album from ReidGraves (named such through a collaboration between musician David Reid and poet Ron Graves) for one of my daughters, her comment was "this is a bit of a struggle...", and you know, I couldn't have put it better.

Having received plaudits from Steven Van Zandt, no less, for his work with The Contrast, Reid is undoubtedly a skilled musician with a strong reputation and yet the sheer earnest nature of Graves words make Lovely As Suspicion immensely stand offish. Don't get me wrong, we all listen to music for our own reasons and derive pleasure in our own ways, however introducing an album with "Arses" and its topic of care for the elderly and the mental fortitude required to follow such a vocation, is a polarising, if admirable, starting point. You'll either be drawn in and intrigued by a set of songs which uniformly refuse to follow the expected twists and turns of 'song subjects', or, as I did, realise Lovely… is is going to be a tough set to chew, never mind swallow.

Musically things are varied, yet on the whole simple, space left for the lyrics to sit front and centre, a folky flavour often not too far below a rock veneer. "Let Down", for example, feels a little like the Pogues on a downer, while "Childcare" sits on sparse piano chords and guitar lines. Vocally things also feel like a challenge to stay the course, Reid often wandering down an unexpected path, the melody line not always where you'd expect; something also true of his vocal mate Aimee Reid on "Ain't Blues" and "Arithmetic". Kat Moore adds a little depth through violin and octave violin on the aforementioned opening offering, cutting through what is, for the most part, Reid on his own with drummer Thorin Dixon. The percussionist makes his presence most strongly felt on the upbeat jaunt of "Biography" and for all this album feels like the most serious of serious undertakings, there is undoubtedly a playful side that adds the odd splash of humour.

If you're looking for an album to accompany an evening of soul searching and world wide examinations, then Lovely As Suspicion may well fit that particular bill. However as a set of songs to while away some time, or raise the spirits, what ReidGraves have created here is indeed, "a struggle".

Track Listing
1. Arses
2. One Knows
3. Let Down
4. Elucidation
5. Ain't Blues
6. Songs and Beer
7. Kent State Massacre
8. Childcare
9. Biography
10. Arithmetic
11. Gone
12. Made My Baby Gag
13. I Hear Footsteps
14. Sign Up

Added: April 24th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: ReidGraves on CD Baby
Hits: 1517
Language: english

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