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'The Hurt & The Humour'   

-  Label: 'Neck Of The Woods Records'
-  Genre: 'Pop' -  Release Date: '25th January 2019'

Our Rating:
Joe Eden is 'The Fisherman', a self-confessed Ben Folds fanboy from Finland.

This is his debut full length release recorded at home in Helsinki and backed by 'The Sea', his three-piece band.

Tracks like The Undertaker and A Song For The Hills show that Eden thinks about death a lot but he is eager to please and show his lighter side too.

The eleven pop tunes, with a folk sensibility, may be influenced by Elliot Smith but he isn't inclined to mope in such an obsessive manner. Eden says "I don't like being depressing in my songs" but it's plain that he is trying his level best not to be too superficially cheesy either.

Treading the line between up and downtempo is a delicate balancing act and it's not always successfully navigated. The question as to where the hurt ends and the humour begins is often left dangling. For instance, the closing track - Life In The Service Of Others - is about the drudgery of working for the man but this plight is confusingly presented more with a sense of jollity than rage.      

His mood swings between Stuck With A Rhyme, a catchy feel good tune confronting writer's block, and Ugly, where he addresses feelings of self loathing.

He's in a good place for Beggar Princess, written for and about his daughter, but more despondent in the self explanatory Homesick.

The keynote song is probably The Fairytale Waltz in which he confesses to frequently being weighed down by dark thoughts ("I bask in words of gloom") but is challenged by a girl who teases his miserabilist ways

All in all, the pros of the album outweigh the cons and being packaged in a handsome CD booklet with elegant photos by Nani Annette adds the sense of it being a labour of love.

The Fisherman & The Sea's website
  author: Martin Raybould

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FISHERMAN & THE SEA, THE - The Hurt & The Humour