Reviewed by Alastair McCollum
The Welsh singer/songwriter is very much in reflective mood for this album written, he tells us in the liner notes, in a matter of three weeks or so. As such this is a very immediate set of self-penned songs, which, though occasionally erring slightly on the side of melancholy, is a deeply personal collection giving glimpses of Mal's own take on life, love, thankfulness and hope. An album to put on when feeling the need for a little calm and thoughtfulness, many of the songs here are reflections on love and the nature of a long-lasting relationship, with glimpses of moments in that relationship over time, though it isn't clear whether all of these are autobiographical. As with many Pope compositions the gentle, rhythmic melodies are complimented by his sensitive piano playing and strong vocals. Actually all instruments on this album are played by Mal, and he covered production duties himself too, very well, I may add. In some places these tracks are somewhat Chris Rea-esque in style, though the vocals are lighter. This collection is an honest, open and often intimate journey into the feelings of a top rate songsmith and at the same time a musically accomplished, well written set of tunes which stirs the emotions and even encourages a bit of personal reflection on the listener's part.
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