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Communion: New Faces 2012 (LP Review)

Communion: New Faces

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE Communion record label seems to be going from strength to strength and this latest New Faces compilation would seem to underline that sentiment.

Led by Michael Kiwanuka’s Tell Me A Tale – one of the highlights from his critically-acclaimed debut album Home Again – this is a cherry-picked selection of young artists that Communion want the world to celebrate next, while also serving as a timely reminder of the talent that the collective have helped nurture over the past 12 months or more.

Hence, household names such as Ben Howard, James Vincent McMorrow and Julia Stone rub shoulders with the emerging likes of Lucy Rose, Jocie Adams, Bear’s Den and Boy & Bear.

It’s an arresting compilation and while not every single track hits, there’s plenty to provide a diverse and entertaining listening experience and a possible dinner party backdrop that’s sure to have people keep asking: “Who’s this?”

Of the newcomer tracks to look out for, LIPA’s Dan Croll delivers the delightful acoustic number Marion, which is laidback and romantic; David McCaffrey displays a maturity beyond his 17 years with the acoustic Stars (which boasts a great chorus), and philosophy student Joe Banfi hits you with a brooding, and similarly acoustic, gem of a song with Olive Green that recalls the haunted under-statement of Jose Gonzalez.

It’s these moments that arguably make Communion’s New Faces collection the treasure trove it is. But there’s also a nice air of familiarity about it, too, when you hit the songs of those artists you may already know.

Julia Stone’s Let’s Forget All The Things That We Say is beautifully delivered and supremely mellow (utilising her distinct tones), Gabriel & The Hounds’ conjure a cracking old-school rock vibe with What Good Would That Do? (Tarantino, are you listening?), and Ben Howard brings typical class to Three Tree Town, a slow burning acoustic offering.

I also really liked Lucy Rose’s impossibly sweet Middle of the Bed, which highlights a voice so sweet it’s impossibly addictive, Boy & Bear’s lively Milk & Sticks, Will Nott’s simple but effective acoustic offering Won’t Go Back and Bear Den’s similarly tender but beautifully delivered Pompeii, which recalls the haunting history of that city and its volcano combined with a bittersweet tale of love.

Like we said earlier, the Communion label is very much going from strength to strength and you’ll have a great time learning why if you buy this album.

Download picks: Tell Me A Tale, Let’s Forget All The Things That We Say, Middle of the Bed, Milk & Sticks, Marion, Olive Green, What Good Would That Do?, Pompeii, Won’t Go Back, Bronte

Track listing:

  1. Michael Kiwanuka – Tell Me A Tale
  2. Julia Stone – Let’s Forget All The Things That We Say
  3. Joe Banfi – Olive Green
  4. Gabriel and the Hounds – What Good Would That Do?
  5. Daughter – Love
  6. 3 Blind Wolves – Emily Rose
  7. Ben Howard – Three Tree Town
  8. Keaton Henson – To Your Health
  9. Lucy Rose – Middle of the Bed
  10. Matt Corby – Kings and Queens, Beggars and Thieves
  11. Boy and Bear – Milk and Sticks
  12. Jocie Adams – Bed of Notions
  13. Dan Croll – Marion
  14. The Apache Relay – American Nomad (Communion version)
  15. James Vincent McMorrow – Hear The Noise That Moves So Soft And Low
  16. David McCaffery – Stars
  17. Nathaniel Rateliff – Just For Me But I Thought Of You
  18. Will Nott – Won’t Go Back
  19. Bear’s Den – Pompeii
  20. Gotye – Bronte