DEL SCOTT MILLER – Lantern (own label)

LanternDel Scott Miller is from Barnsley and Lantern is his second solo album as a singer-songwriter. He’s also singer, writer and guitarist with Mynas and, if he’s to be believed, plays covers when he needs the money. He describes his style as alt-acoustic but that hardly covers it. This is a complex album of varying styles.

So the record opens with ‘Pale And Distant’, a short acoustic guitar piece and just as you’re thinking ‘this is nice’ he smashes you round the head with some rock and roll. Del describes ‘Stains’ as being about a ‘thoughtful and fragrant Goebbels tribute act’. I won’t name names but you know the sort of person he’s talking about: watching everything, hearing everything and spreading his fake news.

‘Second Born Of Five’ is the only song to have its lyrics printed on the sleeve and may therefore be the most important and is certainly the most complex. On the surface, it’s about the troubles of a second-born son with a bullying elder brother but it develops into something else. There is domestic abuse, revenge and perhaps an allegory for our country’s condition. It’s a hell of a song. ‘The Beacon And The Brine’ is another short instrumental and it is quickly apparent that Del is a very talented guitarist. The track blends into ‘Mast’ which ends up as powerful folk-rock with Dom Dudill’s fiddle leading the charge.

‘Manifesto’ opens with more solo guitar before the song develops and then there is a sudden change of style ‘The Oaks Pit Disaster’ is a traditional song sung unaccompanied with Steph Shaw sharing the lead vocals. The colliery was near Barnsley and the song has an unpolished authenticity and we stay in Yorkshire for the closing ‘Little Blinder’, dedicated to Barry Hines. There is a lot going on with Lantern – occasionally I thought too much – but there’s nothing I’d want to lose.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website:

‘Second Born Of Five’ – live:

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