Richard Swift: The Novelist/Walking Without Effort

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Richard Swift: The Novelist/Walking Without Effort

This utterly engrossing double disc brings together Californian Swift's two previously released (but rare) albums from a couple of years ago which were made up of singles he drip-fed over the years.

This reissue announces to the wider world (and me, I'd never heard of him) his particular, quiet genius.

At times his easy-on-the-ear ballads have a sub-Bacharach quality, in other places he evokes hip 60s soundtracks or the gentle layering of vocals like Brian Wilson, and sometimes he reminds me of the best of Harry Nilsson. (I don't get the Randy Newman reference that many are making, Swift is sweeter than that.)

In other places imagine Beck in lo-fi ballad mode, or a California-tanned Tom Waits if he'd never smoked and drank. And that's a nice Hawaiian feel in there, isn't it?

But this wonderful, sweet assortment always sounds coherent, even when he conjures up an oldtime music hall feel in the background, or takes you back to the singer-songwriter period of the early 70s.

Beautifully sensitive arrangements and songs which wrap themselves around you. A rare one.

If you buy nothing else this month . . .


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