Nathan Wall-Jones just graduated with a masters level qualification in philosophy. He also plays piano and sings. On his album Paralysed he explains, “I have spent a lot of my time near nature and natural landscapes, which is likely the influence behind the cover art, and a big influence in the album generally as well.”
Think is kind of what he does so I was already expecting “deep” lyrics and that's pretty much what I got. His songs are brief, short bursts that revolve around impressive piano parts and hyperbolic, theatrical vocal delivery. His music is certainly not for everyone. In fact it's very niche. There really aren't any hooks. The songs almost feel like vignettes and he ties together aspects of jazz and classical.
I really enjoyed his music but I needed a little time to warm up to it. One reason I dig it is because it’s so obviously doing what he wants and could give a crap about what's popular. The other aspect is that he's a really talented piano player. He’s good. I have no problem being entertained with technical talent. I liked the idea of him playing songs that averaged about two minutes in length. These songs could have so easily dragged especially on an album that contains one instrument. He trims the fat and then some.
The first two songs on the album are instrumental. Once we get to “Static” he showcases his unique singing style. The song is theatrical and felt well suited for theater. On “What now?” he seems to be wrestling the existential crisis of his own demise. He sings, ”Cos my thoughts are on how long I will last. Cos I know the future is coming fast. Torn between comfort and shame.”
The songs are swift and fluid. His words continue to be somewhat poetic, poignant and emotionally heavy.
This album grew on me. I’d like to see a couple of things happen in his future. I think he can get a better piano sound. I will point to the works of the composer Ben Lukas Boysen and the tone he finds on the album Gravity. I also want him to entertain the thought of recruiting a violinist or cellist to some of his future works.
Overall I was impressed and entertained. Recommended.
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