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Aaron Wright - Aaron Wright

Aaron Wright, Aaron Wright (LP)

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

AARON Wright first came to our attention with the release of his Behold A Pale Horse EP and has continued to endear himself to us ever since.

His eponymous debut album confirms what we’ve now long since suspected: that he’s a hot new talent.

Born to a Canadian mother and Scottish father, he developed an early love for quintessentially American folk (Neil Young) and classic British pop (John Lennon’s Beatles demos) and moved from Canada to Edinburgh as a child, pausing only to run away to London, aged 15, to see a Simon and Garfunkel concert.

He later dropped out of university, intent on throwing himself into music, and seemingly unable to function without it (he still doesn’t have a bank account, for instance), but was rewarded for his bravery and persistence by Glasgow-based label DSet, who wasted no time in signing him when they spotted him two years ago.

Since then, they have nurtured his talent and helped him to record an album that feels inspired by early-‘70s Paul McCartney, Harry Nilsson or Ronnie Lane, together with the classic British and American greats on which he was raised.

The result is a really great listen: one that wears its influences on its sleeve without feeling overly reverential or shackled by them, and one that yields a number of really great songs.

Take former single Trampoline as a for instance… an appropriately bouncy pop offering that combines piano melodies, acoustic guitars and a folk-pop feel to winning effect.

Wright’s vocals endear themselves to the listener in fine fashion as he recalls a troubled relationship and life’s hardships (“I’m a human trampoline, but one that you’ve never seen before, but one that you leave behind”).

Likewise, the warm folk pop of Go On Yerself, which boasts one of the album’s finest choruses and some fine trumpet from Nigel Bailie (one of several guest musicians).

Crosses offers a warm slice of piano pop, Middle Ground is a heartfelt lament of genuine lyrical substance, and there’s a kooky troubadour feel to Amateur Sleuth that could make it ripe for a slot on a programme like Bored To Death.

Wright’s song-writing ambition is displayed further on another highlight, the piano-led romp that is Kitchen Floor, which also showcases his wit, while Cellophane contains a really impressive acoustic backdrop that helps to set it up as a possible summer anthem.

Origami Me, meanwhile, trades bouncing piano chords with harmonica to hint at both Dylan and McCartney, while also dropping in provocative lyrics such as “pick up love and shoot it like a crossbow… well I can’t tell you from me/fuck them all we’ll taste just like an asbo”.

It’s this playful sensibility, musically and lyrically, that makes Wright so appealing and addictive, while also enabling him to draw on the talents of a rich musical ensemble that also includes Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake (on bass and backing vocals), Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell (vocals) and Belle & Sebastian’s Steve Jackson and Mick Cooke (on guitar and horns/strings respectively).

Needless to say, the album boasts a very rich sound and an extremely rewarding listen.

Download picks: Trampoline, Go On Yerself, Middle Ground, Kitchen Floor, Cellophane, Origami Me

Track listing:

  1. I’ll Be Fine
  2. Trampoline
  3. Say You Love Me Still
  4. Go On Yerself
  5. Crosses
  6. Middle Ground
  7. Amateur Sleuth
  8. Take Them All On
  9. Kitchen Floor
  10. Cellophane
  11. Teardrop Sunday Clown
  12. Origami Me