Derby musician Phil Matthews has just self-released his new album of whimsical folk pop, Carnival Of Fools, under his The Village moniker.
Having made a name for himself on the local live circuit and in writing and performing with many bands The Village is a vehicle for him as a solo performer and as a multi-instrumentalist songwriter. Lyrically and melodically referencing ’60s pop the album is full of gentle refrains and brushed percussion, subtle details and light washes of influence from a number of guitar genres.
The Beatles, Kinks, Syd Barrett, Martin Carr and more can all be heard echoing in the refrains here, sometimes more explicitly conjured to the fore as in Muses, where Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds is re-told along with references to Cider With Rosie, Gone With The Wind and more. Harmonica brightens the lilting melody, the vocal measured.
The list of boxes unticked on Nothing Ever Happens Here adds a note of regret to nostalgia, and while mid-tempo the track remains upbeat melodically. While made up of eleven distinct songs this is a consistent collection sound wise – a little more skiffle here, more electric guitar there but Matthews is faithful to a particular thread of folk pop throughout the whole album. Not a bad thing – it makes for a good listen as a whole piece, or to dip into for individual tracks, perhaps only jarring at closer Christmas Song (but the inclusion of festive songs on any non-Christmas themed album really only ever makes sense for one month of every year).
This is the music of the drowsy slumber at the end of a day of imagined sunshine over a provincial village green. It is, as the cover suggests, the delight and half-remembered excitement of bunting strung prettily and the canvas tents hiding the delights of the fête. It is a melodic re-imagining of a by-gone age, the rose-tinted sound of perfectly pleasant pop bringing a welcome acoustic folk direction to the many psych-infusions around.
The Village‘s Carnival of Fools is out now on streaming and download services including iTunes.
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