Derek Webb - Ctrl

Published Sunday 16th December 2012
Derek Webb - Ctrl
Derek Webb - Ctrl

RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 130672-19743
LABEL: Fair Trade Services 60439
RELEASE DATE: 2012-10-01
RRP: £12.99

Reviewed by Gareth Hills

The feeling you get from solitary, late night listenings of Nick Drake albums is similar to the experience of listening to 'Ctrl'. This is the Caedmon's Call singer's seventh solo studio album and draws the listener deep into Webb's inner sanctum. There is a dark yet sublime sense of melancholy about the songs here, sometimes made explicit as on the third track, "Can't Sleep", which manages to convey the state of psychological exhaustion and over thought that can arise in a lonely soul searching for answers. Elsewhere, as on "A City With No Name", an achingly beautiful track and probably my personal favourite from the album, the meaning is less clear, although as was Nick Drake's great skill, the words and music surround you and you somehow understand, if not in your rational mind. Instrumentally, the pieces are exquisitely constructed. Guitar tends to take the lead, but it's Webb's use of electronics, textures and percussion that elevates this album out of what's usually expected from an introspective singer/songwriter. The album opens with the heavily processed sounds of a church choir, sounding like they are singing a lament over an apocalyptic wasteland. And I suppose this album could be described as bleak. But, I'd choose to describe it as "real". If the primary aim of a singer/songwriter is to connect the listener with the thoughts and emotions of the artist, however uncomfortable and confusing they may be, then Webb has crafted a hugely successful album.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Product Description
Ctrl is Derek Webb’s highly anticipated follow-up to the critically acclaimed and at-times controversial Stockholm Syndrome (2010). Once again Derek reaches across dividing lines and uses his uncanny lyrical ability and innovative song production to open thought-provoking conversation.

A convergence of soft acoustic guitar with hip-hop influenced rhythmic sensibilities and a heavy leaning on samples from turn of the century recordings of ‘Sacred Harp’ (or ‘shape note’) acapella recordings, Ctrl is the next evolutionary step forward for an artist who is constantly experimenting, and challenging conventions of genre and style.

This promises to be Webb’s most revealing and provocative album in an already esteemed solo career.

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