Vintage Voice (label)
25 October 2010 (released)
18 October 2010
As we drift into autumn the tone of this album seems to encapsulate the feeling of an October or November evening. There is a great deal of loveliness in Tess’ playing and a crispness about the production but in his lyrics and vocals there is also an underlying sense of the cold and dank weather to come.
Tess is a fine songwriter; his music is melodious and he emotes well without the over-the-top wailing of some of his contemporaries and you are invited to listen without being browbeaten by a caterwauling agoniste. Mind, his music is loaded with emotion and he pours his soul out over the 11 songs on this album. The Scottish tones of the opening number, ‘Big Room’ and the welling strings of ‘The Warren’ are coupled with highly personal statements about his travels and his experiences while ‘Elliot’ powerfully delivers feelings of stage-fright and the angst of unrequited love affairs.
The music is laden with strings, very effectively too, and it came as no surprise to see that he has been produced by Howard Gott (Beth Orten, Nerina Pallot, Ray LaMontangne etc.). Getting Simon Heyworth in on the mastering gets experience with Nick Drake, Brian Eno and George Harrison in your corner and it shows in the superb delivery of the whole album.
This won’t appeal to the lumpen mass but there is a huge amount here for someone who wants to listen closely and who can get excited by music that aims squarely between the ears as well as the heart.