There is a childlike sense of wonder, innocence and purity at the heart of Koichi Yamanoha’s music. It’s no surprise that the London-based musician hails from a Japan, a country noted for its obsession with youth, or that he was inspired by long lost memories and dreams of living in an amusement park; one track here, ‘Last Word Is Mine’, even has a fairground organ riff at its heart, the soft, shuffling beat recalling the gentle turn of an old-fashioned carousel. And that loveliness, a late-summer sheen of freedom and lazy afternoons, is baked into this, his delightful debut solo album.

Perhaps it’s a reaction to his time as frontman for psychedelic-punks Screaming Tea Party (an abrasive noise trio who were prone to screeching through their live sets in sinister gas masks), but there’s a languid, unhurried air to Yamanoha’s compositions, like a man casually exploring the musical ideas floating through his mind.

Only occasionally does he up the tempo and the urgency from his spacey take on the Canterbury folk sound, and subsequently these provide the record with its weakest moments; ‘Knowing’, a stop-start, awkward dirge, really adds nothing to the collection, while ‘Walk Into The Cold Water With You’ has a jauntiness that scans as forced. But picking away at his guitar, his tender voice dipped in reverb, Yamanoha locates a sweet spot that’s wistful, introspective, and achingly beautiful.


More from