The Fourteenth Ward is a solo artist from Portugal. He is a bedroom artist who recently released A Portrait of the Self as Someone Else which is a sparse album built on only a couple instruments and his vocals.
They are some good considerably great compositions on here. I really enjoyed his vocals throughout. He has a palatable voice that is warm and comforting.
Up first is “Votive Candles” where you can hear hints of artists like The Beatles and Elliott Smith. My biggest issues with this song and the others is simply the recording quality. The recordings are extremely lo-fi with enough digital distortion to take away from the performances. The song is pretty straightforward at least in the beginning. The last half goes into spoken work which eventually gets manipulated by a backwards tape effect.
“Fingers” contains layers of piano, maybe synth and a guitar. The combination can simultaneously feel a bit chaotic and mellow due in part to the production. Overall, a pretty interesting track. “The Lee Shore” is a highlight. I thought the vocal melody really stood out. I was somewhat reminded of The Dirty Projectors earlier work. The most emotionally powerful song for me was “My Bones” which was mostly due to the very strong vocal performance. It is the song the made me realize how much I enjoyed his singing.
There are a couple of other standouts like “Emma, The Desired” and “Let Us Fly These Deadly Waters”. I also enjoyed the closer “Almond Milk” but felt it didn’t require the almost eight minute runtime.
It should be noted the lyrics are well thought and original as well. I have to admit I couldn't clearly make out everything he was singing but liked what I read on bandcamp.
It seemed quite obvious to me the next step for him is to record in a studio. He has talent and think better recording quality and production could bring out his potential.
Overall, this released is a very solid foundation to build upon. Recommended.
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