29 August 2012

My Autumn Empire - ii (2012, Wayside & Woodland)

Second solo album for Ben Holton (Epic45), exploring a much more straightforward folk-pop approach, à la Elliott Smith and Sparklehorse, with the previous Hood references mostly swept under the carpet.

It's charming but mostly it is sleep inducing. I'm a little bit at loss when I come to compare this record with his previous one, "The Village Compass" as there is nothing in the same vein. Nostalgic UK autumnal folk influences have been replaced by nonchalant late summer US (indie) pop references.

Even more there is something in this record that reminds me of Radar Bros or even Spain. Field recordings, minimalism and reverb have been replaced by drums, pop sophistication and much more elaborated classical textures. He really made an album out of my field, showing an unexpected love for orchestral pop with surprising vocal harmonies.

Among the eight songs, I would only keep the slightly acid "Sleeves" which reminds me of Patrick Phelan,  and "Sleep" a cover of This Heat which brings him back under British folk influences à la Appendix Out.

A nice and well done album but for the most part, really not for me.

My Autumn Empire II from Wayside and Woodland Recordings on Vimeo.

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