Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly - Searching For The Hows And Whys
Review by Jack Foley
SAM Duckworth attempts to overcome the pitfalls of “the difficult second album” by drawing on the talents of the multi-talented Nitin Sawhney as co-producer. It proves a canny choice.
Searching For The Hows And Whys may “play it safe” by trading on the same mix of social honesty, folk and trip-hop that helped Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager to become such a runaway success, but it’s embellished considerably by the lush production values and multi-faceted instrumentals that Sawhney brings to the mix. And there’s a cameo by Brit award winner Kate Nash too!
Some of the tracks have already been road-tested to considerable success on tour, especially former lead single Find The Time, but there’s plenty to discover and even more to savour.
Let The Journey Begin may get things off to a fairly inconspicuous start (sounding more David Gray than Sam Duckworth) but the album shows early signs of potential on the much better Waiting For The Monster To Drown, which boasts a cracking chorus, some savvy lyrics and the trademark strings and bass orchestration that Sawhney brings to so much of his own solo work. It’s also much more upbeat than its predecessor and a more ideal starting point from which to judge the LP.
Young And Lovestruck captures the innocence and naivety of young love in effortless fashion and is a solid listen, especially when drawing on a horn section and strings, while there’s an English sweetness surrounding the engaging melodies of Postcards From Catalunya that helps it to become another album highlight.
Likewise, The Children Are (The Consumers of) The Future which just about manages to stay the right side of pretentious with its lament about commercialism.
Elsewhere, I Could Build You A Tower is another to look out for, dropping some pointed observations about global concerns (war in the Middle East, religion and its impact on Britain, etc, etc), while Moving Forward is a positive song about overcoming a failed relationship that finds Duckworth at his most restrained and vulnerable.
Sawhney’s influence is all over Better Things, which boasts an Eastern influence, while Kate Nash’s distinct vocals work well in tandem with Duckworth’s to deliver a rousing ballad of sorts. It’s another highlight, bolstered by the quality of the guest spots.
But Could’ve Seen It All ends things in equally note-worthy fashion, proving conclusively that Duckworth hasn’t fluffed his potential on the second time of asking. Rather, he’s matured very nicely to deliver an accomplished second album that should appeal to existing fans, as well as winning him plenty more.
Download picks: Waiting For The Monster To Drown, Find The Time, Better Things, Postcards From Catalunya, I Could Build You A Tower