If Wen. Take A Look At the Sea.

I suppose it was too much to think that Scotland’s Fence Collective has a monopoly on slightly off beat, “nu folk” minstrels. If Wen is a Cornish troubadour who would be right at place in any gathering in Anstruther, singing of the wind and the sea, at one with nature and swapping banter with James Yorkston or Kenny Anderson as the haar rolls in.
Folkwit Records have re released this 2007 album (with a few extra songs) that gained some rave reviews first time around. Why the reissue I don’t know but an album this good deserves every chance it can get. Having composed the songs on a beach in Cornwall Wen then took himself off to a barn to record the basic tracks with ambient noise leaking into the sound. However the album is anything but bleak. Multitracked vocals, thumping percussion and lashings of acoustic guitar add up to a dramatic soundscape with Wen’s fractured vocals, at times strained, sometimes whispering creating a lush, melancholic feel.
While there are echoes of classic songwriters like Nick Drake and Elliott Smith here I was struck by the similarities to that strain of baroque English pop of the eighties (Momus, Paul Roland) best heard on the songs “Love Letters” and “Eclipse has Gone.” The latter is a highlight here, six minutes of climax after climax, over too soon indeed.
Delicate, awkward, endearingly intimate, this is an album to savour, to mull over. The original closing song, “One Day” just about sums it up, a lonesome soul, sitting drinking and dreaming of one day finding a soulmate but eventually realising it will probably never happen as the wind blows and the sun sets over him. A bedsit album for the modern age. You’ll find him at If Wen

Eclipse Has Gone

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