Friday, 12 April 2013

Flat Ed - Clapped Out

Album review by

From what we've heard, the making of this album from singer-songwriter Flat Ed was a fractured affair, written between work on different projects and also in different locations, although England, Wales and France is hardly globetrotting, yet each have their unique traits and atmospheres. As such, 'Clapped Out' feels like something of a fractured album, flitting between genres and ideas like an iPod that's been left on shuffle. It doesn't make for a coherent listen particularly, but then music is commonly digested in such a way by choice thanks to the vast bank of music available at our fingertips.

Take the opening trio of songs as an example: '24 Hours' is jaunty guitar-pop, a bit like a more indie Jack Peñate when people still remembered who he was; 'Cool Hassle' follows it, with layered vocal backing, a deep bass rumble and the general feeling of drum and bass diluted for more mainstream consumption; then comes the alt-folk-influenced ballad 'Funny'. 'Late Autumn Walk' has a touch of '70s west-coast with added skittering beats, and 'Sister School' adds elements of pop, indie and soul. There's also crunching rock and trip-hop to be found on 'Upstairs To Bed'. So it's not quite all over the shop, but it's definitely diverse and you could say the overriding sound is that of a traditional singer-songwriter ('Scapegoat', 'In Any Bottle', 'Concrete').

In some ways this approach (if indeed it was an approach, it could simply have been accidental) makes 'Clapped Out' an awkward album; incohesive, unsettled and restless. Just when you're getting to grips with it, it flies off a tangent. But how often have you put on a various artists compilation and enjoyed it? Or watched a music TV channel skip between artists, or sat surfing through music videos on YouTube? It's a common means of music consumption. So while it may be a little on the awkward side, in making such a varied album, Flat Ed could have inadvertently stumbled upon something that may work best just as it is.

Flat Ed's website

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