ANDY SMYTHE – Poetry In Exile (Dreaming Element Records – DER09)

Poetry In ExileAndy Smythe has a new album out on March 1st, 2024, entitled Poetry In Exile and is a fantastic up-tempo Britpop journey of an album! A breath of fresh air to new music fashioned in the Rock/Pop and Folk/Indie genre. Andy’s four octave voice can take on any song, which he does in his own distinctive way. All his albums have been different, since his first album release of Love Unspoken 20 years ago, and this one is of no exception.  A cracking album.

Having already released two tracks as singles, namely ‘Prodigal Son’ and ‘Out Of My Mind’ from the album and a third, ‘Leaves To Burn’ on album release day. Andy is very excited about Poetry In Exile, as it has already had some rave reviews, and rightly so!

Thirteen glorious tracks which encompass politics, personal strife and experiences through his powerful lyrics and well put together music.  This album gives a full band sound including brass!

First track, ‘Ghost in the Machine’, is full band with keyboard leading and is a great track as an opener!  ‘Out of My Mind’ has been my earworm since I heard it a few weeks ago!  Fully upbeat, with great brass and has a splendid video to go with it on You Tube. It tells the tale of searching for a soulmate. ‘Don’t Be A Fool’ has harmonica, drums, is rock and roll and sets the pace! ‘Prodigal Son’ is about returning home and is a slow melodic tack with superb violin intro, harmonies and sang with passion. ‘Dear Landlord’, is a story as the title suggests.  Working hard to keep a roof over their head and all that comes with it.  Very apt today.

Another single – ‘Leaves To Burn’ – is about a widowed farm worker, ‘Poetry In Exile’ “showcases the personal strife of a musical poet exiled within a world of corrupt politics (like the historical figure Ovid), who still believes in the liberating power of song”. ‘Power Is A Drug’ (don’t we know this) is a melodic track, ‘Riverman’ is the Nick Drake song, and Drake is a songwriter Andy has a lot of respect for, and he covers it really well. Lovely harmonising and a gentle rhythm.

‘Raggle Taggle England’ is a folk song for England and has achieved extensive airplay on the radio, ‘Judgement Day’, as you would expect, is about when it’s time to meet your maker!  ‘No Parmesan’ with a strong piano “tells of the young Eastenders (about the battle of Cable Street in 1936)”.  In this track I think Andy sounds like the wonderful Rufus Wainwright.   Last track entitled ‘Everything’s A Bit Broken’ is a clever ending to the album.

There are collaborations on Poetry In Exile with American composer Chris Payne, producer Dave Palmer with musicians Beatrice Limonti and Jimmy Van Lin from The Andy Smythe Band.

Andy Smythe is touring in the Spring and Summer so keep an eye out on his website where you can also buy this album and his fabulous back catalogue.

Jean Camp

Artist’s website:

‘Riverman’ – official video:

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