Bannerman: The Dusty Dream Hole (Rhythmethod)

 |   |  1 min read

Bannerman: She was a Mountainside
Bannerman: The Dusty Dream Hole (Rhythmethod)

Bannerman is New Zealand singer-songwriter Richard Setford whose purpose in life seems to be to confound those who would easily pigeonhole him. He appeared at Elsewhere previously with his quietly intense EP (here) which stood at some distance from his work with the roiling Batucada Sound Machine and the soulful One Million Dollars.

For this debut album under his own nom de disque he unleashes astonishing firepower on the six minute-plus opener Where the Shadows Are which ends in an inarticulate howl of anguish and wordless rage in the manner of John Cale. This clearly serves notice that this could be a very different Bannerman.

And the follow-up is a dark brown baritone alt.country ballad of some brooding menace (with whistling!) which veers into a kind of bent T.Rex elfin-pop yelp. Terrific.

Although he gets some small assistance (drums, pedal steel, deftly deployed violin and horns) this is mostly Setford fattening his taut songs through overdubs -- although when he leaves space (as per that EP) he is equally persuasive. The acoustic, rural sounding Hills And Valleys is a moving meditation on life and death and the passage of change, and the rapaciousness of government greed.

His vocal power is impressively on display here (Some Kind of Man puts him close to Jeff Buckley in its soaring, poetic ambition, and both Glass Blowers and Just Another Wreck have the epic grandeur of Radiohead at their most intense).

At the other end, the engrossing She Was a Mountainside over lightly fluttering drums stands as the equal of anything from the current crop of mature alt.country songwriters out of the States: he reflects on grief and a relationship as a changing man, and the violin of Siobhanne Thompson is the lovely counterpoint.

Then again, he shifts towards British indie.rock again for the throbbing The Becoming with its shimmering guitar wallpaper and increasingly staccato quality before the simple denouement. These are clever and effective arrangements also.

On the occasion of that EP I said we would be hearing a lot more of Bannerman and that would be a good thing.

Always nice to be right, innit?

Outstanding album. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Caroline Herring: Golden Apples of the Sun (Ode)

Caroline Herring: Golden Apples of the Sun (Ode)

The previous album by this Atlanta-based singer-songwriter, Lantana of last year, was a revelation: her crystalline vocals conjured up the purity of Joan Baez but her sometimes dark subject matter... > Read more

Elvis Costello and the Imposters: The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook (Universal)

Elvis Costello and the Imposters: The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook (Universal)

Some albums you really just have to see, and this is one of those. Some background: Elvis Costello and the Imposters took to the road in the US last year with a few dozen of his song on a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Eastern: Cthulhu (RPR)

The Eastern: Cthulhu (RPR)

Here's something we like and use it draw your attention in advance of Record Store Day tomorrow. Rough Peel in Wellington has its own label and has done vinyl of albums by the Eastern,... > Read more

LORETTA LUX PHOTOGRAPHER: A disturbing childhood

LORETTA LUX PHOTOGRAPHER: A disturbing childhood

The child looks strange somehow. There is something you cannot put your finger on. The head slightly too big, the pupils of the eyes a little too penetrating, perhaps? The image radiates silence,... > Read more