President Sweetheart - I Play My Shadow - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

President Sweetheart - I Play My Shadow

by Jeff Penczak Rating:6 Release Date:2016-02-02

Twee folk from Nick Holton and Tom Butterworth that won’t wake the kids, but won’t (quite) send you to dreamland either. Holton picked up a thing or three from his collaborations with Slowdive/Mojave 3 mastermind Neil Halstead, and you’ll be forgiven if you catch your friends out trying to convince them this is the new Halstead meisterwerk. Simple melodies, whispered vocals, delicate guitars and subtle drumming blend to deliver an easy listening experience that’s easy on the ears and heart.

     I like the smooth solos that compliment the main melodies without overwhelming them in a torrent of showmanship, and the occasionally deft touch (that theremin-sounding, electric saw-like interlude in ‘Not Just Killing You’ is a nice touch) adds some needed diversions from the predominently one-note vibe of most of the tracks. (Although that Arc-meets-Metal Machine Music bit of guitar distortion at the coda is beyond annoying and belongs on the cutting room floor.)

     The over reliance on “Ssshh, I’m playing here” arrangements and delivery wears a tad thin after a bit, but for a pleasant diversion of “pretty” singer/songwriter offerings, President Sweetheart would make a nice soundtrack for an evening on the floor in front of the fireplace with your, er, sweetheart and a nice bottle of red. Just be prepared for a couple of bathroom breaks when they decide to break a sweat and go all Neil Young & Crazy Horse on you. It’s horribly out of place. They need to find a better way to inject some diversity next time around. 

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