Alfred is a catchy, hooky effort that begins James Rawson’s latest album, Tristan & Isolde. The track ebbs and flows, increasing and decreasing in speed to ensure that everyone listening in will be agog. Intermezzo may only extend to the minute and a half mark, but the deft composition showcase intricate intimacy; the different elements here combine to create something silky and alluring before the album moves into Dead Bones. Dead Bones furthers a dichotomy between human and inorganic; the shark differences that exist between these two sides make for a stark track that is reigned into a unified approach by Rawson’s talented hand.
Boys and Lotus Flowers links together the eighties New Romantic movement with the Britpop of the nineties to establish something that is current, vibrant, and will echo nicely around listeners’ minds long after Tristan & Isolde completes. Theme And Variations is an entire range of organic and electronic, past and present that really hammers home the wide array of styles and influences that comprise Rawson’s musical output.
Echoes in the Valley is a complex track that is warm and richly emotive with enough of a narrative present that listeners will be on the edges of their seat. The rich vocals of Rawson are reminiscent of OK Computer-era Radiohead, while the difficult time signatures that are presented here hearken back to the era of Massive Attack and Portishead.
Tristan & Isolde concludes with a powerful dynamic created by the penultimate and ultimate compositions, Mirkwood and Love Built a City. Taken together, the constituent elements on this album are as immersive as the original Wagner opera.
Top Tracks: Boys and Lotus Flowers, Theme And Variations
James Rawson Tristan & Isolde CD Review / 2015 Independent Ear / 10 Tracks / http://www.independentear.com/ / http://www.bjamesrawson.co/ /