Bannerman: Dearly Departed (Bannerman/Rhythmethod)

 |   |  1 min read

Bannerman: The Year That Has Gone
Bannerman: Dearly Departed (Bannerman/Rhythmethod)

Recorded in the same furious sessions as his previous release The Dusty Dream Home (considered "an outstanding album" at Elsewhere in 2010, see here), this companion volume as it were confirms the power and darkness of singer-songwriter Richard Setford who is also a member of Batucada Sound Machine.

Away from the Machine however, Setford explores very different sonic and emotional territory and it isn't drawing too long a bow to namecheck Nick Cave, Elvis watching a long black limousine and moody alt.country songwriters like Jeffrey FoucaultLee Clayton and James McMurtry.

Bannerman isn't without his sensitive side and the lovely The Year That Has Gone (with stately horns) is an engrossing glass half full/half empty rumination ("how do you face a year with no armour on?"); and despite the cold wind outside and dark baritone on Take Time is it injunction to slow down and enjoy family, to "come around whenever you're lonely" and the reassurance of "it's alright to hide away".

But mostly this is music from under a cloud cover and Bannerman knows how an arrangment can elevate a simple song into an epic (the five minute There Rose A Flood which starts with spare spaghetti western guitar and increases in sonic intensity before winding back to almost nothing).

Country music of all kinds morphs into these songs (rockabilly on The Howling Wind, big strum and twang on the poppy Rocks Are Just Lonely Hearts, backporch acoustic on Machines) and both his lyrics and delivery suggest an emotional maturity and awareness of damaging experiences into which he can locate himself. Howling Wind is about mortality on a desert battlefield, death and dying -- and he speaks persuasively of something he cannot have experienced.

Although Bannerman dwells at least some of the time in a melacholic's world, there is a curious catharsis here over the 10 songs which inscribe an emotional chart where uncertainty and hurt are evident and even accepted, but the letting go is as important as the experience.

Again, to repeat myself, an outstanding album. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Bruce Springsteen: Working on a Dream (Sony)

Bruce Springsteen: Working on a Dream (Sony)

As a longtime listener to Bruce Springsteen and somewhat of a fan, it is still possible to be clear-eyed about his ever-expanding catalogue. His great period was certainly 1973-84 (from The Wild,... > Read more

Obits: "Moody, Standard and Poor" (Sub Pop)

Obits: "Moody, Standard and Poor" (Sub Pop)

Following their derivative but enjoyable I Blame You debut, former Drive Like Jehu's Rick Froberg and pals again deliver post-punk garageband trash-rock (Ramones, Dead Moon, Stooges, the Animals... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Baboons: Spanglish (Global Gumbo)

The Baboons: Spanglish (Global Gumbo)

In a cover designed to catch attention, this Miami band fronted by husband and wife Mano and Majica Pila toss a stylistic salad together almost as if they hope something is to your taste. So... > Read more

Mehdi Rostami and Adib Rostami: Melodic Circles (ARC Music)

Mehdi Rostami and Adib Rostami: Melodic Circles (ARC Music)

Subtitled “Urban Classical Music from Iran”, this album by the Rostami cousins captures both the magic and complexity of this largely improvised music on the four-stringed setar (Mehdi)... > Read more