‘Swaying’ sees Keith Alan Mitchell’s vocal sailing close to the tones of Ben Folds, all the more supported by the powerful, emotional piano performance. It’s something of a lighter-waver, with its gentle rhythm and creaking bass notes, and given some glue from Kathy Kennedy’s backing vocals.
‘You Just Disappear’ showcases some classic acoustic rock, with a plodding bass part and a tambourine that really pulls things along, while ‘Crossed That Line’ is a wistful, dreamy track filled with melancholy and yearning. Its ever so soft organ sits unobtrusively in the back of the mix, just adding the slightest hint of a country vibe.
‘Tavern Angeline’ is a real rocker, the perfect pub rock tune with just the right balance of americana groove, vocal harmonies, and fun percussion, while ‘The Feud’ turns things darker in tone with a snarling guitar part and a vocal filled with attitude.
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This Clumsy World manages to be incredibly varied in its style and tone, considering the limited range of instrumentation. If anything, the more acoustic approach helps the album to have a sense of coherence and consistency throughout, while always offering real creativity within those boundaries, such as the delicate pluckings on ‘Next Time’ and off-beat hooks on ‘The Low Way’.
Penultimate track ‘Diamond Blues’ is a speedy, shuffling square dance which draws on the classic sounds of Paul Simon and Reckoning era R.E.M., leading on to This Clumsy World’s closing track, ‘Our Eyes’. As a concluding track, it’s gentle, thoughtful, and totally stripped back, with simply Keith Alan Mitchell’s voice and an acoustic guitar, it’s the perfect end to a creative collection of americana-fused folk rock.
By Chris Marsh