Mark James Hammond & The Slender Blind - Nothing Stays Put - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Mark James Hammond & The Slender Blind - Nothing Stays Put

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:7 Release Date:2018-04-27
Mark James Hammond & The Slender Blind - Nothing Stays Put
Mark James Hammond & The Slender Blind - Nothing Stays Put

It just so happens that at one point Mark James Hammond used to write for Soundblab. Still, there’s no sentimental attachment here, never met the guy nor was around when he was writing. But, such a connection always breeds an element of curiosity, with all the risks attached, including the fact that Nothing Stays Put is the formal debut album for MJH and The Slender Blind.

There’s an ongoing debate why people write about music, beyond the fact that they love it. Quite often there’s a cynical line of thinking in that respect that says that it is usually guys (and gals) that might love music but can’t really play it. Of course, there are quite a few names you can stick in the face of the cynics, no matter what style of music you like - from the punky garage of Mick Farren to the poppy rock of Chrissie Hynde. The list is not that short either, but on the evidence of Nothing Stays Put, you can add Mark James Hammond to the list of musicians that have also tried their hand at music journalism.

Now, I’m not sure that Mark will make such a splash, certainly not right away, and besides the fact that this is a self-released album. But a few things become quite evident based on this debut. First of all, Mark has got the melancholy side of Dream Pop down to a pat, and you get a sense that bands like Bark Psychosis and Bedhead on either side of the pond are quite dear to his heart. Being a rock critic at any point certainly gives you the possibility to make deeper insights into music if you want to make them, and MJH certainly did.

The other fact is that Mark is an obviously well-read man, you can see traces of such names as T.S. Eliot, William Wordsworth and Henry Miller passing through his lyrics: I can't continue to apologise/For the space that I occupy/Living inside of every head in the room/Divided into all the characters assumed/Why am I so afraid-/Of the noise I make? (“Meet Me Halfway”). 

The aforementioned song, “Victory List” or the closer “Heirlooms” are the best examples that Mark has an excellent sense of melody and progression, and can create a musical atmosphere, while the rest rarely lag behind. What was needed to make this album a true success was a few more shades in the arrangements and production, but having to go the self-release route, also means that the only pocket the funds are coming from is the ‘self' pocket.

Still, throughout the album Mark and his band rarely falter or test the listener's patience, coming up with an album that can fit easily on a shelf of any Dream Pop lover.

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