Colin Vearncombe: The Given

~ Wednesday, 8 July 2009
This, the first studio album for Mr Vearncombe, aka Black, in four years has an earthy live feel to it and minimal production, but that voice.... like a pint of Guiness, velvety smooth, has certainly improved with age.

For many years Vearncombe has taken a back seat from the spotlight choosing to record and tour when the notion takes him. Beautiful albums like Smoke Up Close and Between Two Churches, released on his Nero Schwars label, have satisfied the cravings of his loyal fans, but sadly not brought him back to the mainstream public attentions.

There are only eight tracks here, but it is about the quality rather than the quantity and there is a tangible soul sound going on throughout this album mainly due to the Motown style backing vocals and the Smokey Robinson drum sound.

The soul influences are everywhere on the lilting Blondes while Chapter and Verse is just the perfect summer song, lush strings and understated arrangement.

The highlight for these ears is the beguiling Beneath The Radar where the interaction between the guitar and vocals work in harmony. Beautiful. The album closes on the upbeat Misbegotten Child, a possible single perhaps, like The Corel or The La's in their finest moments.

This album is being given away as a download from his website, so no excuses for not owning it. Re-discover one of the finest voices and songwriters that these Isles has produced.

[][][][] (4/5)