Ella Guru – The First Album

Sumptuous debut from Liverpool octet

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Richard Thompson on the flowering of Fairport Convention

"There was a musical explosion – you could play almost anything and be accepted"

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Alan Horne on the resurrection of Postcard Records

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Introducing the Deluxe Ultimate Music Guide to Neil Young

Updated with a deep dive into Archives II and more

Despite the Beefheart-referencing name and a vocal star turn from 68-year-old Mothers Of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black, this is as far from ’60s SoCal avant-noise as could be imagined.

It’s an escapist’s dreamscape of quiet, touching on the orchestral restraint of Lambchop, the churchy hush of Low and soft-sigh harmonies that catch the breath like sudden castles of glass lifting from a mirage.

Songwriter John Yates’ delivery rarely rises above a whisper, subtly burnished with cornet, pedal-steel, harmonica, piano and semi-acoustic guitar. Like the ‘Chop, they’re miniaturists of adventurous scope. If the gentle-gorgeous “Blues Is The Root” or the feathery pout of “This Is My Rock’n’Roll” don’t warm you, you probably have no soul.


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The Velvet Underground, The Black Crowes, Bunny Wailer, Richard Thompson, Nick Cave, Rhiannon Giddens, Laurie Anderson, Blake Mills, Postcard Records, Mogwai and The Selecter