Album Review: Tim Burgess – Oh No I Love You

Oh No I Love You

Released October 1st 2012

When you’re a teenager you somehow find yourself picking a favourite band or singer and for some it’s just a song or album that lifts something inside them, a song that makes them happy or for some just because it’s popular and everyone else loves them you get caught up in the waves of it all because it’s fun. Others, and I include myself here, don’t always have a say in who they pick as their favourite.

When I was 15 I got super excited that The Charlatans were going to be on Jools Holland. I didn’t even know who The Charlatans were, yet I’d stood up at this announcement and jumped up and down. Much to the bemusement of my best friend who thought we were solid in our shared favourite band of Oasis (see first explanation of how some pick a favourite band). But no, it turns out The Charlatans were going to have somewhat of a huge impact on my life for a long time.

Why am I saying all of this at the beginning of a Tim Burgess solo album review? Because as a music fan your choices live with you and as you get older your tastes change, what you connect with changes and so do those of your favourite band. With every album comes a new fear that they have lost you; that you no longer like the style or the sounds or even worse there’s no connection at all, and after all that emotional (and financial) investment you dread the day you might lose it.

When the lead singer of your favourite band goes off and records a solo album you question everything. I neededn’t have worried last time, nor this. My only question this time was what on earth will it sound like? As an avid music fan and record collector, Tim has very varied and eclectic taste, some of which I really don’t enjoy.

I am one of the lucky ones who still manage to find connections in songs given to us by our teenage favourite band and their solo projects. It’s important you know all of the above because when I finally get around to talking about Oh No I Love You, and I will, I promise, it’s with the understanding that I have been open with you about my status as a fan, but that I am still looking for in the music of Tim Burgess (and The Charlatans) what I do at every turn, with every listen to every band. My fandom stays in the lines above and the review starts here:

Tim has collaborated with quite an array of people over his career yet the people he chose to work with here really have managed to pull out the best in him, especially it seems Lamchop’s Kurt Wagner who co-wrote the album with Tim over what I believe was a rather long period.

Opening track White has been available to listen to for a little while now, giving music fans a sneak peek at what might be found on the rest of the album. Upbeat and wonderfully melodic, this track for me resonates most closely to sounds found on solo debut (I Believe). With a wonderful smattering of brass to give it real warmth and depth it’s the perfect choice for an opening.

The Graduate has a wonderful vintage feel to it and the pace of the vocals almost at odds with the pace of the music, especially the percussion and bass which pushes and pulses its way through, adds interest. And I just love the bass and guitar heavy break down that pops up out of no where then swiftly moves onto country and western style guitar picking and pedal effects. It’s a track with so much interest, each time I hear it my ears pick out something new. The fact The Graduate is followed by the most amazing opening of a track is just the cherry on top. Hours has strings that are beautiful like bird song and harp back to a time way before pop music became anything like we know it now.  The juxtaposition of this classic film score sound with a more earthy bassy bluesy song is just magic and appeals to me both aesthetically and emotionally.

The pace of Oh No I Love You is mainly laid back and with country, folk, jazz, pop and blues influences sewn into the fabric these all allow for different tempos and a rich tapestry of sound. It’s a perfect lazy weekend album; something to really enjoy whilst you potter about and wiggle your behind now and then as you go. One of the slowest tracks is A Case For Vinyl, incidentally also one of the cleverest concepts for a love song I’ve ever heard. I defy anyone who says it’s not a love song, it bloody well is and I love it. I don’t want to tell you too much about it because I just want you to hear it (and you can at the bottom of the page).

It has to be said that Tim Burgess has quite a unique timbre to his vocal and Oh No I Love You makes great use of this, as you would expect it to. One track in particular really stands out to me though when it comes to a focus on the vocals and that is another slow track called Tobacco Fields. Here the lyrics are sang/spoken in a deep bass vocal, in parts, the lowest I’ve ever heard from Tim. It adds something really dark to this gently simmering track. The music, though mostly melancholy, in parts has a lovely contrast when some higher lighter notes and tones flutter in, just like dust particles caught in a singular shard of light in a dark room. Tobacco Fields might not at first few listens seem to be a particularly noteworthy song, in fact at first I found it rather hard work and somewhat dull, but eventually it was catching my attention more and more especially for the way it all comes together as something more dramatic at the end. Not a hugely complex song but the elements are clever and allows for the story to be told in an interesting way that really adds depth to the album.

This is not an uplifting summery album like Burgess’ first solo offering, it has elements that look back that way but also there are dark shadows that fall across it and for me it makes it a richer album in many respects. As a stand alone project it works well and offers rather a lot to a listener who is prepared to give it time to really sink in where necessary.

Listen To A Case For Vinyl here:
Listen To White (edit) here:

If you want to hear the album and get  to know more about it and ask questions you can take part in one of Tim’s Twitter listening parties on September 28th (5.30pm), where he will make the album available in its entirety on his website and discuss it with fans track by track in tweet sized nuggets.

Comments
2 Responses to “Album Review: Tim Burgess – Oh No I Love You”
  1. ian horton says:

    Great review EK, I look forward to listening to it x

    Like

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  1. […] solo album for a little fortnight party across the UK (mostly in the North). As you might remember Oh No I Love You was one of Popped’s favourite albums of last year and with a recent remixed version of the […]

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