Tuesday 15 January 2013

Old English - Prose and Khans

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

The old adage runs that you've got your whole life to write your first album and then a year to write the follow-up. As far as Old English are concerned, the first part at least isn't far off the mark. It seems the project was originally started by Matt Henderson in his bedroom three years ago. Since then, recording has taken place in six cities, three countries with 27 songs written in total and over twenty collaborators. Now based in Toronto with a core of around seven members, 'Prose and Khans' is ready to be unleashed on the unsuspecting world. Actually, make that the suspecting world, in that time they can't have been able to keep this a clandestine project.

Was it all worth it? They've diluted their song pool down to eleven tracks, the quality is sometimes good, sometimes a little average and sometimes remarkably good. So the short answer to that question is yes, it was worth all that time and effort. Instrumental opener 'Runner-Up' makes an nice intro piece, the impressive and intricately put together 'Anchors' is very sweet, and like much of this album it should be treated like a fine wine. The songs improve with age. If the first listen feels a touch underwhelming, by the time you've got half a dozen plays in it really begins to show its true colours. Previous single 'We've Been Here Before', which benefits from even more familiarity, now sounds truly brilliant.

Even unassuming tracks like 'The Corrections' eventually blossom into something more grand. Given that the recording was so fractured this is a very cohesive record; 'Lotteries And Tents' has a similar grandeur, The funky pop of 'We Can Never Have It All' might be more immediate for some folk, it's good but it's not the best here, segueing straight into the even better 'Layaway'. No songs are bad but a few are slightly less engaging. 'Older Things' is pensive and quaint but it does drag just a little and 'Farmer's Tan' begins full of promise but doesn't really develop, something that could also be said about 'Pop Shop', yet it's still a fine song. These are nothing but minor quibbles though, and 'Prose and Khans' is a very good effort. OK guys, you've got a year to write the follow-up. The clock starts now.

Old English's website

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