Monday, August 22, 2011

REVIEW: Will Hanson - Moving a Body

We gave Will Hanson some virtual ink recently to profile a double A-side. We have reason to do so again, as his label, 12/26 Music, releases Hanson's Moving A Body today, August 22. Moving A Body is a full length produced by Jamie Savage and Oli Bayston in Glasgow with funding from Creative Scotland. The album is the delightful product of Hanson's resolution of several artistic tensions. One is his indie pop songwriter muse. Another is his penchant for sweeping cinematic tracks. And woven through the album is his maturity to let the instruments speak without his voice. Accordingly, the influences listed with respect to this album include songmen such as Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave and Anthony and the Johnson, indie rock icons such as The Delgados, and experimental types such as Mogwai, Sigur Ros and Portishead. (One reviewer suggested that this album might be what one could expect if Leonard Cohen was forced through a synthesizer, which is an interesting illustration.) I'll also add that Will's love of an off kilter lyric reminds me of Robyn Hitchcock.

Two of the best examples of Hanson's skill in crafting engaging songs are tracks two and six, "The View From Ebury Bridge" and "The Bats", respectively. Perhaps fittingly given the Chemikal Underground connection with his production team, both tracks start out on an intimate basis with Hanson's voice drawing the listener forward to hear his voice, and then build like a track from The Delgados. Here is "The View From Ebury Bridge":

And here is "The Bats", which is emerging as one of my favorite tracks on the album:

Hanson's music has taken him from his hometown in London, to New York (with his former band, Proxy), to Glasgow. The band for the album is a six piece, and between Hanson's melodic talent and the skill of such a large compliment of musicians, Moving A Body succeeds in being expansive, warm and versatile. I think it is the mark of an artist hitting his stride.

For a change of pace, here is the dark and atmospheric "Deathbed Conversion", a track which has drawn a lot of attention from reviewers:

Album closer, "And So..."


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