Sunday, 30 March 2014

John Bassett - Unearth

Some might say that there can be nothing more prog than a band by the name of King Bathmat, and if you're unfamiliar with their work I would recommend that you check them out, particularly their last two albums, 'Truth Button' and 'Overcoming the Monster'. The guiding light behind this project is a gentleman by the name of John Bassett, and he has just released his first solo album, 'Unearth'.

The first thing that grabbed me about this recording was the stunning image on the cover -  a truly brilliant piece of photography which, for me, invites you to want to see what the package contains. And once you start listening, you're treated to some inspired and inspiring song-writing, but in a very different vein from the King Bathmat material.

This is an album graced with haunting harmonies and tantalising counterpoint. The whole thing has, for the most part, a somewhat melancholic, thoughtful air to it. Having said that there are some more upbeat moments, for example in 'Nothing Sacred' and the instrumental 'Kylerhea', and 'Pantomime' has an almost playful edge to it in the swirling keyboards that hang in the background throughout. This is a collection full of surprises and suggestions: the blackbirds that begin and end 'Keep Dear' are endearing; I found hints of Nirvana's 'All Apologies' in 'TV is God', and there are echoes musically for me in the closing track 'Comedian' of the album opener 'Stay Away From The Dark', book-ending a complete package.

There is none of the bombast of the King Bathmat material here, but for those who appreciate good acoustic songs well-written and performed, this is an album that will not disappoint.