Album – Gutter Pastoral – Kevin House

Posted by admin on January 18th, 2006

It seems you don’t have to be a Canadian to be a miserable git, but it helps. Actually that’s not quite what I mean, but when you hear Kevin House’s album, you cannot fail to hear the likeness to that other fine Canadian song master Leonard Cohen, who’s renowned for his gruff melancholic melodies.

This isn’t the kind of album you whack out at parties to get the masses moving, unless it’s to the exit. This is the kind of album you play when relaxing and just wanting to find a space to call your own. When I was younger, around the age of 15-18 I used to love to wallow in melancholia. Leonard Cohen, Pink Floyd, John Mayalls Blues Breakers, The Smiths and Julian Cope were my main staple. Even now I love all things Morrissey, but enough of this distraction, what of Kevin House.

The whole album is underpinned by very simple musical accompaniment, usually just an acoustic guitar and some drums, but it’s the lyrics and the way that they’re sung that captivates. I’m a great fan of the melancholic side of music. I attribute the Smiths with getting me through my teenage years sane.

Gutter Pastoral opens with the amazing Stories Without Words, which has a unique vocal arrangement, something akin to someone talking over a telephone, whilst being accompanied by someone playing a saw. Don’t get me wrong though, I love this track. It was also the song that brought Kevin House to my attention and remains my firm favorite.

The other standout tracks for me are Twilight in the Wilderness which is very Cohenesque and Disappearing Girl, which for some reason reminds me a lot of Suzanne Vega. I think it must be the guitar arrangement.

Conclusion : This is a beautiful album, both in it’s simplicity and it’s haunting sound.

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