Neville Skelly - Carousel (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
HAVING won widespread acclaim for his debut album The Poet & The Dreamer in 2011, Neville Skelly returns with a sophomore effort that only looks set to win him more friends.
Carousel explores that intersection of folk and jazz and could easily resonate with admirers of John Martyn, Nick Drake, Van Morrison or even Beck.
Inspired by his daughter, the album was recorded over the subsequent 12 months, primarily during the evenings, in the kitchen of a friend’s small terrace house on the Wirral, with the help of an array of local players including ex-Coral members.
And yet you wouldn’t know given the expansive nature of the sound on some tracks that they were achieved in such a restrictive recording environment.
Tracks like Silence In The Sand and House of Saints have a warm, full sound that’s shot through with layered instrumentals. Skelly’s vocals, especially on that latter track, have a classic sound to them, too, that bears comparison with the aforementioned Morrison, as well as Roy Orbison. As such, the track embodies a timeless feel.
But the album is arguably at its most disarming during the tenderest moments. Falling Leaves, with its quiet acoustics and whispered vocals, is heart-meltingly sincere and reassuring (in the way that a father might comfort a daughter over growing fears), while also reminiscent of Sea Change era Beck.
And Catherine’s Song has a laidback folk-pop vibe that is stepped in heartfelt sentiment and classic songwriting values.
If there’s a minor criticism, it’s that perhaps the album begins stronger than it ends. But taken as a whole, Carousel is a really nice listen.
Download picks: Falling Leaves, Carousel, Silence In The Sand, White Roses