STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 156324-23507 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Andrew Wallace
Long-time readers of Cross Rhythms will remember Scotland's enigmatic Calamateur and now the Stirling-based songsmith has released this self-penned and self-produced under his own name. 'The Great Divide' is a richly-layered and textured sonic soundscape of confident vocals, sparse acoustic guitars, synths, keyboards, fragile beats, distortion and electronic bleeps. Howie is joined by the critically acclaimed Scottish songstress Yvonne Lyon on piano and backing vocals for four songs. The lyrics are not cliched; deeply personal and achingly honest - the spiritual element though not being overtly obvious; intertwined throughout as Howie brings his questions, doubts and hurts to God; ultimately offering hope. "Arab Spring" with chugging guitars and distortion is an attempt to get into the head of someone with a different viewpoint of life. "Post" is a thought-provoking, stripped-down piece of earnest electronica railing against "evangelical certainty" - potentially controversial to some. "Dead Ringer" with heavy guitar riffs is the most up-tempo number here. "Annie" is a beautiful epic; a tribute to Howie's grandmother who recently passed away, sampling a Japanese choir singing "Softly And Tenderly" and her voice. An eclectic, absorbing, skilfully-executed album from a talented, inventive artist.
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