Low River aka Paul Bardsley is a musician from the UK who recently released New Mothers. The album at its core is a guy playing heartfelt songs with his guitars. There is some accompaniment but not too much.
The album starts with “The Flood” which was a highlight. I thought the mood here was early more acoustic oriented Dinosaur Jr. or Kurt Vile. The acoustic guitar picking pattern is hypnotic and melancholy. Once the drums and bass lock in I really liked the groove. The vocals are fairly subdued and fit the song. There is a slight rise on the verse with a catchy sing-along type of melody,
The next song “The Wolf That Cried Boy” is a little more expressive and dynamic. It felt like a fitting followup after the opening. There is a lot to appreciate from the soaring lead guitar to the catchy chorus.
The rocking and catchy “I Remain” contains philosophical insights that seem to be about consciousness itself. Bardsley sings, “Do you ever come back, when nothing really goes away /Will I ever learn that, I am here and I remain” which reflects the popular phrase “I think, therefore I am” by Descartes. Some of the songs had more of a clear country flavor to my ear such as “Fire.” Even on a song like that however the verse which is dripping with country flavor goes into a more indie rock type vibe during the chorus.
You hear a softer side to his music with “In Time.” I thought he sounded great on this song which focused more on the guitar and the emotive vocals. Similar to some of the aforementioned songs, he creates memorable melodies on the chorus which you will want to hear again.
Some of the songs are cryptic. Take for instance “Knock On My Door.” This is a smooth song with more palatable vocal melodies. The lyrics however are shrouded in some mystery. He sings, “I know my fate I know what i’ll get / I know the curse of knowing what I have been / I know my sings I’ll try to forget / I’ve been nothing I can be nothing again.”
I wasn’t expecting orchestration but I got it and liked it on “Bye Bye Big Sky.” He closes with a stripped back song called “Shiner.”
I thought this was a great album. It’s on the lo-fi side in a number of ways but there’s no denying the emotion. Take a listen.
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