One of the biggest surprises released last year 2002 was the album I´m going to review briefly.
Neil Halstead, main member of british band Mojave3 and previously member of Slowdive has released a solo album with a simple and intimate style that we could locate in the late sixties (Cat Stevens, Simon & Garfunkel, some country sounds and influences of Pink Floyd - “Ummagumma”, “Atom Heart Mother” era). The listener can enjoy with passages plenty of lyricism, of lineal compositions –there´s no changes of rhythm- and the beauty can be found inside an exquisite collection of sounds.
Apart from composing all the tracks, Halstead sings and plays guitars, piano and bass. In this record the other players are: Nick Holton (keyboards) Ian McCutcheon (percussions), Darren Seymur (bass consultant), Tam Johnstone (banjo and wah dobro), Laura Reid (cello), Mark Amstrong (trumpet), Mark Van Hoen (software and technical consultant), Alan Forrester (vocals and hammond).
The album contains the following tracks:
“Two Stones in My Pocket” (4:24)
“Driving With Bert” (6:34)
“Hi-Lo And Inbetween” (4:47)
“See You On Rooftops” (6:34)
“Martha´s Mantra (For The Pain)” (5:09)
“Sleeping On Roads” (4:15)
“Deramed I Saw Soldiers” (6:17)
“High Hopes” (5:03)
I would like to highlight “Seasons”. Here the hammond organ and the acoustic guitar create a sound web with Halstead´s voice over –by the way, he sings in a mood that reminds me of Porcupine Tree´s leader S.Wilson.
“Hi-Lo And Inbetween” is another wonderful song with a decadent voice only accompanied by piano, creating a nostalgic atmosphere and plenty of feelings. If a Pink Floyd´s fan listen to this song and you tell him that is an unreleased track recorded during “Atom Heart Mother´s” recording sessions, he´d think that you´re right. Amazing. The album ends with the beautiful “High Hopes”, that could have been written by Simon & Garfunkel in “Sound of Silence”.
In short this is a great album with a simple structure but with an accurate selection of instruments and arrangements. I´m sure that this album will be enjoyed by Pink Floyd´s fans of songs such as “Cirrus Minor”, “If” or “A Pillow o Winds”, Camel (“Moonmadness” era) or the precious sound of Genesis with Anthony Phillips.