Thursday 19 June 2014

Paul Cook & The Chronicles - Radar EP

EP review by KevW for

For the last few years, Paul Cook & The Chronicles have provided the perfect soundtrack for those late night moments, perhaps after a few glasses of your favourite tipple, when you begin to reflect on all the “what ifs” and “might have beens” about lost or unrequited love. Because of Cook's highly likable voice, such pensive songs don't sound dreary or downtrodden; the lightness of tone somehow acts as the silver lining around the clouds of sadness. First recorded for last year's 'Volume 2' album, 'Radar' has been given a substantial overhaul here, becoming the most accessible, most “pop” recording he's made thus far. This new, more upbeat, jangly and harmonious version further cements the feeling that, despite the unhappy times, life will go on and optimism will follow in the morning after: as if the music is a way of ridding these emotions for good.

Backing this more universal indiepop track are two new songs that are perhaps closer to Cook's regular sound. Both 'Universe' and 'Destroyer' are simpler in arrangement and more acoustic, but no less touching. What has been a constant with all of Paul Cook & The Chronicles' recordings is the sense that he's a regular guy, he's someone you'd go for a beer with, he's your mate (albeit one who's pretty nifty when it comes to writing and singing). 'Universe' has an intimate, personal vibe to it, as though it's just Cook, his band, and you: it almost feels like you're being given a sneak preview of a song that they haven't performed to anyone else yet, and of course, the lyrics are a bit like reading a personal diary or perhaps a private letter to someone who's “the whole Universe” to the author. Maybe 'Destroyer' takes this personal touch a step further, as the guitar and voice are given a gentle backing that gradually becomes richer, all adding to the effect. There are plenty of solo artists or bands who are led by one man and his guitar, but few of them connect on this level.

Paul Cook & The Chronicles' website

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