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Posted in Ten Of Swords - reviews on 20/05/2011


We're experiencing something of a mini-golden age in terms of singer-songwriters at the moment. Recently, James Yorkston, Damon Gough, Ed Harcourt, Ben Kweller and the likes have given us everything from wistful pagan beauty to out-spaced subversiveness. The blood of The La's courses through the veins of this album. You'd suspect that if Lee Mavers was doing something right now, he'd have made this. The guitars are simple but the tunes are all intact. One moment you'll be in the middle of a gushing folky romp, the next moment, a brooding mini-epic. Because the tracks are so short (about three minutes on average), it's only on further visits that Carroll truly displays his raunchy wares. You Saved My Life (Again) is a charming feel-good ditty about drinking buddies and Crashpad Number is a sparkling ray of defiance that will get your feet tapping. Of the edgier moments, Idiot World rattles along with the spirit of Teenage Fanclub, Your Kingdom Must Come Down taunts the Devil in the most wholesome manner you can imagine whilst Terror And Tired Eyes jolts along with the warped histrionics of the Super Furry Animals. If you're not convinced by the whole singer-songwriter phenomenon then this is unlikely to sway you. For everyone else, this offers little new in terms of moving the genre forward but is an album of unpretentious, heartfelt joy that wouldn't be out of place played in daydreams. It's a shame he's been ignored by the music media simply because he doesn't act like a rock star, preach his politics or throw darts at pheasants. He only makes honest, no nonsense pop music. Possibly the greatest crime he commits here is leaving you to return to the real world after half an hour. Let Carroll bear his sword and return with a vengeance.

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