The opening to Carner’s debut album, the previously released ‘The Isle of Arran’, fades in with the sway and swing of gospel singers, the volume ever rising like they are walking over mountain hills ever closer until they fade and Carner’s restrained, half-spoken flow cuts through the voices, sparking an immediate intimacy, which is soon further matched by the revealing and sincere subject of loss found in the lyrics. It sets the tone for a record that feels sonically vast and ambitious as frequently as it does sparse, tender and reflective. Carner succeeds in feeling naturalistic and familiar in his approach, happy to talk of love and loss and family, but he does so without becoming cloyingly earnest.
The album is a smooth ride, where mild currents of g-funk nestle up next to jazz tinges and R&B grooves. Although it’s a record that feels fundamentally un-American, the snippets of dialogue, home life and Carner’s family that feature throughout give it a sense of place and Carner’s neat and unique lyricisms, alliterations and flow – “freckle faced fidgeter” – also feel quintessentially British. It’s an album that’s more interested in humility than egotism and ultimately feels like an ode to the foundations of family and the love, nurturing and creative spirit they foster.
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