Martyn Joseph & Stewart Henderson - Because We Can...
STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 20839-11912 LABEL: Epic PRCD015 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £11.22
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
This mix of poetry and song from Welsh singer/songwriter Joseph and his long term writing buddy Stewart Henderson - poet and Radio 4 regular amongst many other trades - is a culmination of 15 years' worth of writing, friendship and reflection. Recorded over three days at Joseph's home in Penarth, the chemistry between songwriter and poet is strong and together they have produced a hybrid of verse and music that works surprisingly well. Henderson appears sans music on four occasions and his spoken word delivery is masterful - not to mention his wonderful phrasing courtesy of his Liverpool accent. Like Joseph, Henderson is not afraid to tackle difficult issues and does so in a thought provoking and articulate way - his opening poem "Domestic Lamentations" documents the loneliness brought on by the absence of a partner whilst "And This Is What We Leave Behind" and "Letterhead" deal with death in a strikingly poignant and sensitive way. Henderson's unique brand of humour shines through in "School Rules" and "Do Aliens." and this provides a touch of light relief where needed. As expected, Joseph weighs in with typical intensity and older songs such as "Working Mother" and "Thunder And Rainbows" are reworked to allow Henderson to speak alternate verses which adds a different perspective to these standards. Elsewhere, Joseph will merely add a guitar accompaniment to Henderson's voice with the occasional inclusion of percussion for good measure. Although both are men of faith, nothing in this collection's content readily points to Christ but "Everything In Heaven" and "Under The Clock" hint at something beyond this world. There is an inclusion of a pointless track of out takes at the end but this only slightly soils the atmosphere created previously. On the whole though, this is a stunning release.
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