08 September 2010

Wentworth Kersey - ((O)) (2010, Plastic Sound Supply)

Recently I reviewed and album of George & Caplin, from Denver, Colorado. Wentworth Kersey is a side project of this band featuring Jeffrey Wentworth Stevens (soundscapes & synths) from George & Caplin, with songwriter Joe Kersey Sampson (guitars & vocals).

((O)) is the third and last one in a trilogy of EP's. If George & Caplin is mixing ambient and Americana in their instrumental music, here the folk and vocals put us even more on the traditional side of a band like Wilco.

The folk songs probably exist independently, played on the acoustic guitar, before becoming Wentworth Kersey songs, and they are very traditional and typical, if I could make links with the Paisley Underground tradition with George & Caplin, here the songs are more typically include in the 70's folk genre and the voice of Joe Kersey Sampson sometimes reminds me of Grant McLennan (Go-Betweens). 

Jeffrey Wentworth Stevens probably comes to add his part next and the results are more or less successful, in fact it works only when he can find some interaction and pushes the vocals out of their steps. Then he can make space for himself and add background and melancholic landscapes.

"Oxbow" seems like a lost Grant McLennan (Go Betweens) folk song mixed with dreamy chillwave influences. Nowhere else Joe Kersey Sampson vocals seem so warm and hearty and the melody so lively. "Since you arrived" plays the nostalgic and sad side and the celestial synths in the background, even if almost cheesy in fact contribute to the intimacy and sincerity of the whole song. "Walking", the last track seems softened and made more fragile with background sounds of Jeffrey Wentworth Stevens.

Elsewhere, the Leonard Cohen influence is too palpable, "Broken Down Knees", "A Door" and remove the identity of such songs or the song plays too much the dreamy side without entering it on "Sunshine" or totally goes the folk rock way, "Sun and Moon"& "Do you need".

I think Wentworth Kersey would be more convincing if more room and influence were left to the ambient part of the songs and if the folk songwriting was much more dissolved, giving only its emotional essence and and forgetting the traditional aspects.


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