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Alan Pownall – True Love Stories

Alan Pownall, True Love Stories

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

TWENTY-FIVE-year old Londoner Alan Pownall is the latest folk troubadour to enliven the flourishing UK folk scene.

Having won friends and admirers through numerous live appearances, he now delivers a deeply enjoyable debut album, True Love Stories, that wears its intentions on its sleeve, whilst showcasing the eclectic nature of his songwriting.

Pownall, himself, says of the LP: “I wanted this first album to be a simple romance. There’s a reason why I called it True Love Stories – it’s supposed to be either about being in love with someone who doesn’t love you, or being loved by someone who you don’t really love.

“So, it’s make-believe in many ways. I long for the day I can love someone and they can love me back. I’m too complex I guess!”

This spirit and ethos is best exemplified in the brisk, breezy and ever so slightly jazzy Don’t You Know Me, which opens with the line: “I used to make you come alive inside, I swept you off your feet and then said goodbye…”

Pownall’s reluctance to settle down, while comically relayed, gives a really lovelorn feel to the chorus, which screams out: “Don’t you know me? I’m the one you love!”

Needless to say, it’s one of the album highlights and ample evidence of Pownall’s radio-friendly appeal.

So, too, is Chasing Time, a ska inflicted Jack Johnson campfire moment if ever there was one! It’s warmly delivered and set to put a smile on the face of anyone who hears it.

But throughout, Pownall delivers songs of genuine emotional sincerity and eclectic quality. The slower-tempo Colourful Day, which is also reminiscent of the UK’s Newton Faulkner, is a lovely acoustic lament that’s also infused with lovely strings… a heart-melter of a record.

Nice, too, is the upbeat Take Me, which implores the object of its affections to “hold me in your heart for a while”; the clap-happy folk song Life Worth Living, which screams positivity, and the violin-led The Others, which slows things back down and charms by its simplicity.

Pownall has surrounded himself with some notable talent, too… on top of his easy-rolling guitar style, the songs are fleshed out by a small, unfussy rhythm combo, plus occasional violin embellishments provided by Noah & The Whale and Laura Marling’s fiddler Tom Hobden, as well as brass and twinkling percussion.

It all serves to add to the album’s appeal and ensure that Pownall can comfortably take his place alongside the likes of Newton Faulkner, Noah & The Whale and Seth Lakeman as one of the UK’s finest folk-pop purveyors. True Love Stories is easy to become seduced by.

Download picks: Chasing Time, Don’t You Know Me, Colourful Day, Life Worth Living, Clara

Track listing:

  1. More Or Less
  2. Clara
  3. Too Many Holes
  4. Chasing Time
  5. Don’t You Know Me
  6. Colourful Day
  7. Take Me
  8. Life Worth Living
  9. The Others
  10. Turn Me Down
  11. You Know