Everything So Far –  Paul Den Heyer (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Dripping with the same hazy beauty as Mazzy Star, the shimmering textures of The Byrds, the understated soundscaping of Ride wrapped in a wealth of reflection and positivity, this perfect blend of timeless folk, lush late 80’s indie and 60’s West Coast psychedelic pop is one of those sounds that you know that you are going to fall in love with whether you want to or not. And that’s just the opening salvo,  the evocatively named Technicolor Summer Sunshine. But as mission statements go it is bad.

Den Heyer was once to be found fronting Liverpool indie outfit Fishmonkeyman but now he prefers to term his music Britanicana, which makes perfect sense, for if Americana is music which feels that it has a specific geographical home, then this also has the same, easily defined location on the opposite shores of the same ocean. It is the same home as Nick Drake and Kenneth Grahame, John Martyn and Vaughn Williams and the gentle echo of his own former shoe gazing days also help pin point it on the map.

Inspiration often comes from the most unlikely places and a series of bereavements and his own health scare saw him dig deep within and turn his thoughts and fears, hopes and dreams into songs. And as the old adage reminds us, every cloud has a silver lining and his own personal weather-fronts have been turned into a thoroughly gorgeous collection of songs. It’s also a very elemental album with allusions to seasons, summer, sunshine, the weather and the passing of time draped in, around and through the songs.

Clear Sunshine View is a lilting slice of acoustica, the sort of thing that might have been found at the less brooding end of the Mazzy Star spectrum but somehow feeling totally part of his own Liverpudlian back story too. Money Cloud also echoes that great city in its Beatlesque pop-adelics and social narrative, and Passing of The Season is a wonderfully reflective call to positivity in the face of a tough world.

Everything So Far proves that sometimes it is easier to talk about life’s emotional blows through song, that the human condition is just as transitory as the passing clouds above, that the dark can be dispelled by lighting a candle, that difficult times are replaced by fond, bitter-sweet memories. Life is tough but it is also beautiful.

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