Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Clutch… We’ve had some good beefcakes in IYBOAOTWMI. But true joy lies in variety (and really big cakes, for any Great British Bake Off fans this week) so why not try the new record from country-psych gent Israel Nash. We loved his previous album, and Silver Season does all manner of lovely, bettering things with his 60s folk-based principles.
Said previous album, 2013’s Rain Plans, seemed to benefit from Nash’s migration to a 15-acre ranch in Texas. The open space and rural setting is still audible in Silver Season, only now it’s channelled into stronger melodies, steely swirls, tougher crescendoes, prettier finishes…. It’s a powerful de-stresser. So sit back, take a little time, retreat from the screen, put the coffee/phone/hammer down and lose yourself in some cosmic americana.
Through pensive country rock odes and stirring harmonies, the record is littered with first-class echoes of Laurel Canyon. He’s a darker James Taylor in the warm strumming of A Coat Of Many Colours; Neil Young with darkly hallucinatory undertones on Parlour Song; and the era’s hazily psychedelic spirit is everywhere. Languishing between softly stoned 60s/early 70s touches and gutsy acoustic passion, it’s a thoroughly agreeable trip.
There’s also a cosy, pastoral side to all this – opener Willow is the audio equivalent of having warm honey poured in your ears. A dreary, snooze-on-the-sofa-after-dinner affair though? It is not. Indeed, sweet though Willow’s first (flutey) notes are, they’re a slightly deceptive intro for this dreamy, yet detailed album. It needs a couple of listens to really take effect, but once it does it’s oddly mesmeric.
For a one-song taster, go for Strangers – a celestial hybrid of sun-kissed psychedelia and stirring soft rock. Beautiful.