Review: Understated and underrated Grey Reverend deserves worship

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ACCORDING to Last.fm, Grey Reverend, who is preparing to release his second album A Hero’s Lie, has a paltry 12,505 listeners.
By way of comparison, according to the music site, Michael Kiwanuka has 164,888 listeners, Ben Howard has 372,251 listeners, Jose Gonzalez has 1,223,562 listeners, Bon Iver has 1,478,963 listeners – you get the picture, Grey Reverend has a pretty small flock at present.
Despite high profile collaborators in the form of Bonobo and Cinematic Orchestra, Grey Reverend’s touching acoustic guitar compositions have slipped largely under the mainstream radar.
It is, quite simply, a travesty.
The Brooklyn singer-songwriter, real name L.D Brown, crafts compositions that are cathartic and emotional yet simple and understated.
And on this collection, produced by Grey Reverend himself, the added swells and production really bring the raw acoustic and crooning vocals of the music out of its shell – whether through the sweeping majesty of Postcard or The Payoff for instance, or the more subtle work like little piano touches on tracks like Everlasting.
Hopefully this LP will bring out a deservedly bigger congregation to hear the Grey Reverend in action.
5/5

Review: Bonobo’s The North Borders bordering on brilliance

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I’VE only had access to Bonobo’s latest album The North Borders for a short time, but I already love it so much I’m not going to resort to cheap chimp jokes in this review.
And that, dear readers, is a lot of love.
Because Bonobo has done what he does best here, creating an hypnotic fractal soundscape that works on level after level.
First and foremost its’s simply an enjoyable listen – while there are Burial-type dubstep beats on Emkay, or deep, mantra-like techno influences on Cirrus, nothing stops the joyous, orchestra-soaked vibe shining through.
And as well, the vocals added by the likes of Grey Reverend and Erykah Badu have clearly been cherry-picked and used almost as another instrument in his mix.
At times in the past this ‘mass appeal’ feeling to his work has meant that the true genius of what Bonobo does can be missed – he doesn’t push his creativity in your face, the way the likes of Four Tet or Autechre or many more of his peers do.
But delve deeper, and there’s reward enough for the intense listener, miniscule tweaks of the horns, or gradual building of layers, Bobono never lets a track lie, as The North Borders ebbs and flows throughout.
Quite simply, if you don’t agree that this mesmeric collection isn’t the best dance album of 2013, I don’t give a monkeys.
5/5