Net Rhythms – July 2011
Lancashire born and now based in Glastonbury, singer-songwriter Blake is one of those people whose debut albums sound like they’ve been making music for years and will continue to do so for years to come.
Influenced by the 70s West Coast sound of artists like Mitchell and CSN&Y but equally embracing Gershwin and George Harrison, he’s on the poppier side of the folk fence and clearly has a talent for weaving intoxicating melodies with hummable hooks as well as deftly picking them out on his acoustic guitar.
His warm, breathy voice has been described as being between Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake, though he’s softer than the former and less fragile than the latter, while the opening For Your Sake, with its softness and swells, suggests a touch of the less fey Donovan and a clear affection for the traditional.
Those roots are in evidence too on Rush which harks back to the days of Matthews Southern Comfort’s fusion of folk and psychedelia and Tell Me Beth, Do You Recall? with its heady summery sway feel and jazz undertones.
There’s jazz colours too on Feathers while elsewhere, with croony melody, guitar break and airy touch, Heart And Soul is a prime example of how he brings pop sensibilities to bear, it and numbers like Simon and Gypsy Fireflies evoking such Beatles-derived comparisons as Andrew Gold, Glenn Tilbrook and Gallagher & Lyle.
Romantic and confessional without sinking into cliche trite, this is a sensitive, impressive and thoughtful collection of classic songwriting that deserves to reach a wider audience than the folk tent at festivals. Mike Davies
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