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Pagan Wanderer Lu - Fight My Battles For Me

Pagan Wanderer Lu, Fight My Battles For Me

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

PAGAN Wanderer Lu is a solo artist from Cardiff playing wonky indie-pop with an electronic/experimental twist.

But while his songs start out endearingly kooky in a DIY kind of way, his album Fight My Own Battles For Me rapidly runs out of steam and at 60 minutes long proves to be a very torturous journey.

PWL’s PR credits him with being on a distinctly British songwriting trajectory charted by The Kinks, The Smiths, Pulp and Belle & Sebastian, but while each song is packed with wry, sometimes witty, social and personal observations, the music isn’t strong enough to back them up.

PWL uses a menagerie of odd electronic instruments and effects like omnichord, kaos pad, monome and kaosillator to make his DIY pop sound both classic and intriguingly original.

And he bills himself as a lo-fi anti hero who comes of age during the course of this release…. albeit with underground tendencies.

But while songs such as Anger Management start out well and coherent, others such as Simple Life/Repetition 4 crumble under the weight of distortion, warped vocals, frenetic beats and a distinctly amateurish feel.

Lyrically, too, the song is openly provocative. Tracks such as The Gentleman’s Game talk of the immigrant situation, while 2.0///The Bridge of Sighs take a pop at the Facebook and social networking explosion.

In the latter’s case, the observations are quite comical and astute (with mention of friends being made who’ve never even met), but in the former’s case they can be quite volatile.

The aforementioned four-minute opus/mess that is Simple Life/Repetition 4 laments over and over that “we are all machines for dancing” and feels monotonous as a result, hammering home the point where a little subtlety may have benefited.

And vocally, PWL can sound quite flat on tracks like England Expects, where something a little more adventurous is needed to lift the equally insipid electronic loops he employs. PWL almost sounds disaffected and dis-interested, and you may well be too by the time you reach that far into the album.

Doubtless, there’ll be people who hail PWL as a genuine one of a kind and fearless music-maker. But while there is plenty of ambition and some quality in what he’s doing, Fight My Battles For Me is, ultimately, a wasted and overlong journey.

Download picks: Anger Management, (You & Me and) Winston Churchill, The Memorial Hall, 2.0///The Bridge of Sighs

Track listing:

  1. Anger Management
  2. The Gentleman’s Game
  3. Good Christian/Bad Christian
  4. (You & Me and) Winston Churchill
  5. The Tree of Knowledge
  6. 2.0///The Bridge of Sighs
  7. Stop Traveller! Stop And Read!
  8. The Memorial Hall
  9. Simple Life/Repetition 4
  10. Ten Cities Is Not A European Tour
  11. England Expects
  12. Knots
  13. ————————————-
  14. Pockets in Shrouds
  15. Millionaires Need People Like You