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Review: 'BODEN, JON'

-  Label: 'Hudson Records'
-  Genre: 'Rock' -  Release Date: '6th October 2017'

Our Rating:
I never was a big fan of Bellowhead so wasn't too unhappy when their hugely successful 12 year career ended.

On the evidence of this album, the eleven-piece band's former frontman isn't too sad either and is happy to make a clean break from that band's traditional folk sound.

With strong Prog-Rock flourishes, Boden's latest set of songs actually seem more suited for the West End stage than the festival circuit. Could he be the new Andrew Lloyd Webber of pomp rock?   

His band - The Remnant Kings - features the playing of former Bellowhead members Sam Sweeney (drums) and Paul Sartin (oboe and fiddle), alongside the bass playing of Ben Nicholl although their contributions are largely consumed within the bombastic orchestral sweep of the arrangements.

Recorded in Sheffield and produced by Andy Bell, Boden's third solo album is the second installment of a trilogy. It follows on from his last album, ‘Songs From The Floodplain’ , which told the story of a rural post peak-oil community.

The narrative of ‘Afterglow’ is relocated in an urban setting transformed by climate change and, as Boden explains, it "imagines a near-future world where the luxuries and comfort of 21st-century life have become scarce, and a harder, simpler existence now prevails.”.

We follow our hero as he searches for a lost lover in a post-apocalyptic rubble and there are hints of the biblical in the opening track Moths In The Gas Light wherein he is "looking for a neon guiding star".

As a lyricist, Boden likes to show off his literary credentials and will use words like "iridescent" and think nothing of likening the eyes of a lover inBee Sting to "diamonds in the celestial crown".

The relatively optimistic All The Stars Are Coming Out Tonight bounces along like Peter Gabriel on Solsbury Hill while the next track (Dancing In The Ruin) could be mistaken for an outtake from Bowie's Diamond Dogs.

Focusing on visions of a dystopian future doesn't seem such an original concept not least since we seem to be living through a dystopian present.

Boden's themes therefore seem a little old hat and, above all, this type of thing has been done many times before and with far greater sincerity and simplicity.

Jon Boden's website

  author: Martin Raybould

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BODEN, JON - Afterglow