Album Review: Marcus Foster – Nameless Path

Nameless Path

Released 26th September 2011

Never judge a book by its cover, nor an album. Whilst the artwork for Marcus Foster’s début album Nameless Path is quite stark and represents the album title, it in no way reflects the kind of music that you will find once you hit play. There is very little here that is stark in any which way. This is a début album that is as rich in musical texture as it is in lyrical content. It holds a rich historical tapestry of musical sounds and influences. There are all sorts of elements from genres such as Folk, Blues, Country, Rock & Roll and even elements of Jazz. No one song sounds like another and no song lacks points of interest, something that I find to be quite rare these days.

Marcus Foster has a vocal that is quite distinctive and actually quite addictive. He has the ability to sing purely and also with a real grit but whatever timbre he goes for he never loses an inch of passion. I Was Broken is the lead single from Nameless Path and demonstrates that purer vocal that has just a hint of that huskyness that is so distinctive in his voice. It is a stand out track from the album it must be said and is a perfect choice for a single because it is so catchy. It is as beautiful and sad in its sound, as it is in its sentiment. The addition of the strings really gives a heightened sense of drama and occasion to what could have been quite a depressing sounding track. It really is such a sad song but you can’t help but feel stronger and full of fighting spirit by the end of it. I find it quite an inspiring track.

In the glorious Shadows Of The City is where high notes are mixed in with real dirty gritty vocals demonstrating some real aggression and passion that comes through with every word he spits. This song features on Marcus’ EP and I remember then feeling a certain connection between the guitar style at the start to that of something you’d expect to have heard from Jeff Buckley. This is a really atmospheric track and so dark and murky. The backing vocals and gibberish being talked in the background coupled with the screeching all adds to this track feeling very horror-esque. It’s the only song of its kind on the album and that makes it stand out, but that isn’t to say that it doesn’t fit because it really does.

If you’re looking for something a little more uplifting and more classic pop folk then you will love the beauty and simplicity of the sounds on I Don’t Mind. The vocal here is so beautiful, possibly my favourite vocal. The piano and violin bring a sense of drama without taking over the song, as the arrangements aren’t too ostentatious. Moving away from something quite simple yet stunning I have to mention one of the tracks that was a real surprise in terms of sound. The Room has become one of my favourite tracks because whilst from the start it sounds like a “normal” song it has a real jazz element to it, especially with the brass and the piano playing style. Just when you think the track has finished along comes something most unexpected. Think you’ve just walked smack bang into a bar in the 1920s? You may well have done! It’s a fantastic little break down that comes out of no where, so unexpected and whilst I’m not sure if it is part of the track or something just tacked onto the end, either way I don’t care, it seems to bring everything together and is a delight. I wish it went on a little longer please Mr Foster.

Usually I talk of tracks that I’m not so keen on but to be honest there isn’t anything here that falls into that category. Nothing that feels like filler, nothing that is ill-thought out, boring or misplaced. So seeing as that’s the case I’ll just leave you with a little bit on one other song that I love, one of my songs of the year. I Belong Here is every bit as passionate as a song with that title should be. It begins out fairly upbeat and you would be forgiven for thinking it’s just going to be another in vogue indie folky pop song. In a way it kind of is for a while but it builds into something much more. It is a song that touches my heart and makes my nose tingle. I’ve yet to listen to it through headphones but I have this idea in my head that when I do, and hear these vocals and these lyrics so close that it will bring a tear to my eye, sentimental fool that I can be. If ever there was a song that I would want someone to sit and sing just to me I imagine it would be this one, it is so intimate and passionate. Oh and go on then follow it with I Don’t Mind, as these two tracks sit perfectly side by side on this album.

Every now and then I come across an album that I’ve enjoyed so much that I literally have something to say about every track, and this album is one of those. It is really tempting to write a blow by blow account of each and every song but I will never do that as I don’t think it leaves anything for others to discover and who doesn’t like some surprise?  I imagine that if you have read every word of this review that you will know that I adore this album and that I don’t have a bad word to say about it. I feel a little sickly from having said that. It’s quite nice to have something negative to say because it gives a more balanced review, but as hard as I try, I can’t on this occasion. Well done Mr Marcus Foster you have given me a little piece of musical perfection and I now love you for it.

Listen to I Blong Here:
Watch Shadows Of The City Video:

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  1. […] Foster is set to release his debut album Nameless Path on the 26th of September and is releasing I Was Broken the previous week on the 19th. In the past […]

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