witheredhand

While folk-pop is a timeless genre, its singer-songwriters are an endless commodity and each new addition to this almost depthless sea can easily sink without trace without something remarkable to buoy them up. It’s difficult to say that Scottish folkster Dan Willson (who goes by the worryingly limp name of Withered Hand) has achieved that with ‘New Gods’, his second LP.

‘Horseshoe’ is the kind of song which seeps out of SomaFM’s ‘Indie Pop Rocks’ channel; a jangly, melodic, insubstantial and slightly anodyne whiff of fresh air, and it’s difficult to dispel the image of Evan Dando sitting in a room, churning out b-sides to order, from your mind on ‘Love Over Desire’, a country-tinged, lap-steel travelogue with a soaring chorus. Then all of a sudden the magnificent ‘California’ reminds us that a handful of minor chords and a few sad words can still cut through the fat and sear the soul time and time again. In the final reckoning though, ‘New Gods’ is an album that will add merely a nickel and a few dimes to the inestimable wealth of this genre.

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