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Jim Moray - Review

Jim Moray LP

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

JIM Moray follows up his acclaimed debut Sweet England with this self-titled effort that pleases and frustrates in equal measure.

Hailed as a nu-folk pioneer, Moray has drawn on traditional English songs for his sophomore effort, straddling both the folk and rock genres.

When it works, his music-making gives way to some cracking records, such as the sweeping Barbara Allen, with its lush melodies and electronic flourishes.

But it can also get a little bogged down in pointlessly tedious mini-epics, such as the overly cinematic and orchestral Lord Willoughby, which arrives far too early and threatens to turn listeners off straight away.

The PR for this eponymous offering credits the multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer with the ability of ‘transforming traditional songs of England into startlingly contemporary works not out of place alongside Anthony & The Johnsons and Rufus Wainwright’.

This much is true but just as both of those artists tip-toe the line between artistic pretension and brilliance, so too does Moray.

Nightvisiting is another track that flirts with both descriptions – an epic, sprawling effort constructed around swirling organs, sweeping synthesizers and aching vocals that could probably be defined as both brilliant and infuriating depending on the mood you’re in.

The album is certainly at its best when offering the more straight-forward folk of My Sweet Rose, with its delicate guitar riffs and vocal style that recalls Crowded House in their heyday.

Or during the slow-building rock of Who’s The Fool, which makes maximum use of some inspiring guitar riffs and skyscraping vocals.

Flow My Tears even hints at the heartfelt passion of Aqualung.

But elsewhere, the album requires a lot of patience from the listener that’s not always rewarded.

So while undoubtedly ambitious and brilliant in places, the overall tone feels uneven and only sporadically satisfying.

Track listing:

  1. Prelude
  2. Lord Willoughby
  3. Dog + Gun
  4. Barbara Allen
  5. Nightvisiting
  6. Fair And Tender Lovers
  7. My Sweet Rose
  8. Flow My Tears
  9. Gilderoy
  10. Who’s The Fool?
  11. Magic When You’re Near