Richard Warren - Laments - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Richard Warren - Laments

by Dan Clay Rating:7.5 Release Date:2010-07-12

Having cut his teeth recently touring and playing with Jason Pierce's superb Spiritualized and James Walsh's Starsailor, it seems the former Echoboy is now finally growing into a man. His debut solo album Laments is a fitting title; a sorrowful mourning of the once all-conquering Britpop mixed with loud walls of sound showing he's learnt plenty during his time on the road.

Odd then that for a man The Sun famously dubbed "mad" for turning down Oasis, opener 'The Devil's My Shepherd' sounds remarkably close to their 'mad-fer-it' early days. A bluesy, rocky stomp of a hymn, it sets the melancholy tone for the rest of the album well.

Things take a different turn on the more country-tinged 'How Could You Be So Blind?' and the soulful 'It's a Crying Shame'. Both highlight the album's main strength and weakness; the raw outpouring of Warren's inner emotions delivered with a voice that struggles to match.

That's not to say it's necessarily a bad thing. 'No Companion Like Solitude' soothes along with its blues piano tones while 'Brother Mary' rocks to a noisy climax, in keeping with Warren's stretched vocals, while 'Fool Killer' delivers one of the album's best lyrics over an acoustic backing. "So used to losing I hope I don't lose you/I'm a fool killer, I don't suffer them gladly/Only take what I need and Lord I need them so badly."

Though there might be only so much you can take of lovelorn rock stars, introverted and outwardly blind spilling their heart out, it's hard not to be swept away by Warren's knack for a strong tune. "Sit down beside me, I'll spill all my troubles/Sit down beside me I'll tell you my moans" he sings on 'Black Stone Empires', a smart contemporary folk song before launching into the album's best song 'No Angel' to close. A dead ringer for The Jesus and Mary Chain's 'Just Like Honey', it's a bombastic wall of sound which leaves a pleasant ringing in the ears as it draws to a deafening close on Warren's repeated insistence "There's no angel in me."

Perhaps not, but it's quite nice to see he's got some heavenly songwriting touches with him instead.

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