Sometimes you see a little glimmer of a light in the distance. Sometimes, like a glow-worm, it fades if you look too closely or shine a light on it; sometimes, like the sun reflecting for a period on an open window, it gleams from a long way off but then, as time passes, it disappears; and sometimes, it’s the flicker of a flame which begins to burn slowly, then larger and brighter – and keeps going.
James Edwyn and the Borrowed Band release Highlights Of The Low Nights on May 27th. I first saw the band live at a festival some years ago and wondered why more people weren’t talking about them. I’ve seen them again in subsequent years and thought the same – it’s felt a bit like one of those cult films or TV programmes which, for reasons completely baffling, don’t get taken up widely. Highlights Of The Low Nights is their third/fourth album (depending on whether you count the splendidly raw lockdown long-EP Before We Go).
It fans the flames higher, the song writing and playing are as good as ever and the production raises this studio album a notch – or several.
The opening track, ‘Gasoline’ is a splendid mood-setter – indie, folk-rock, country/Americana? All of this, a cracking fusion on a tale of someone who “never set the world on fire” and is now burned out and crying. ‘Is It Enough’ deals with equally mature themes “Is it enough to make your money…”.
‘Buy Me A Ticket’ has the best opening line on the album “So I thought about Elvis” on a ‘when-I-leave song’ – boppy, bright, more country-flavoured. ‘Hold On’ challenges it for the best opening, but just misses out “When you’ve nothing left/And you ain’t spent that yet/Hold on” – equally bright in its sound.
‘Sometimes We Fade’ is a relationship song – slower, moody picking, thoughtful. ‘Because of You’ is sung higher, lines racing to the end, the band coming in and out to reflect the themes, “Because of you I never learned at school/Because of you I stayed outside…” so far so moon and June, but it continues…. “Holding onto a memory/What does that say about me?” Some mature song writing here. Later in the album ‘Love Too Late’ plays with lyric and emotion in an equally thoughtful way.
‘Jeremiah’ returns to the storm-riding moodiness of the opening track to deliver an edgy feel, “There’s just something about you making me uneasy”. ‘Star Gazer’ is a great referential country song, “I got a stressful uneasy feeling”, say, or “It’s just a sentimental journey/My foolish heart’s been on”. Title songs/reference songs I can think of generally don’t work – this not only works but brings a smile to my face every time I play the track. ‘Never In Her Eyes’ is acoustically simple picked guitar with a great chorus. ‘Vows’ finishes the album, complex again, this time about the vows of married life.
In sum? Still a daft name for the band, but you won’t forget it once you’ve heard them. Great band live and a new album that takes them up several notches in its quality. Highlights of the Low Lights deserves both to get widespread play and to get more widespread recognition for James Edwyn and the Borrowed Band.
Give Highlights Of The Low Nights a listen, fan the flames of recognition.
Artist’s website: https://www.facebook.com/JamesEdwynAndTheBorrowedBand
‘Sometimes We Fade’:
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