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Book of Days
Artist: Nigel Clothier
Time: 11 Tracks
When you read that an album has been described by UK’s Maverick magazine as “quality British singer-songwriter fare,” you might expect it to sound a bit more, well, British. Nigel Clothier’s album _Book of Days_, however, defies that expectation, delivering instead track after track of songs that sound like they could quite comfortably be performed in a smoke-filled bar somewhere off of US Interstate 40. Clothier recorded the entire album himself at his home in northern England, and it was mastered and produced by Fran Ashcroft (whose 30 years worth of production credits include Gorillaz and Dandy Warhols). The project references most of the classic Americana styles, from the bluesy honky tonk of “Exceptin’ a Beach” to the pedal-steel-infused waltz “Whisper in My Mouth.” Clothier’s myspace page lists musicians like Neil Young and Bob Dylan under the “sounds like” section, and it’s easy to hear how these classic troubadours have influenced Clothier’s music. The album’s strength lies in its lyrics, with evocative lines like “Took the part of John the Baptist through no fault of my own/Hope Salome ain’t around” from “Season of the Rose” and the chorus of the nostalgic “Hepburn’s Run Away,” which poetically references the best of Old Hollywood. Musically, however, the album falls flat, with largely uninteresting melodies, many of which are accompanied by synthetic keyboard and drums that unfortunately sound like they’ve been pulled out of a dusty cardboard box. While it may indeed be a “slice of Americana from the north west of England” (to quote the publicity material) with a generous helping of freshly-made lyrics, Nigel Clothier’s _Book of Days_ ultimately tastes a bit stale.
By Jennifer Monroe, June 11, 2008