Posts Tagged ‘Young Pilgrim’


Written by James Christopher Sheppard

As a music critic and reviewer, I tend to write a review as soon as I have an album in my possession or have some way of listening to it in it’s entirety. Therefore, what I write tends to be based on an intense listen or two to each track. Now that I have reviewed around thirty albums, I now sometimes reconsider my reviews. Of course, the reviews I have written represent my first impression and most of the time, that opinion sticks, but sometimes an album grows and grows on me, and other times I don’t listen to them after reviewing them.

The main album that springs to mind that I would now give a hands down 10/10 rating is Charlie Simpson‘s debut Young Pilgrim. The more I have listened to it, the more I enjoy it. Having given ‘I Need a Friend Tonight’ 7/10, it would now easily get a 10. The album words together so coherently, it really deserves to be heard. If you haven’t yet given it a listen, I would strongly recommend that you do.

An album that I would potentially give a less favourable rating to now is Lady Gaga‘s Born This Way. On first listen, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the album, but I have only revisited it a handful of times since its release back in May. In reflection the album is instantly likeable, but does little to keep you wanting to return for more. I will admit to having a love/hate relationship with this album. I have struggled to appreciate ‘Born This Way’, ‘Judas’, ‘Hair’ and ‘You and I’ at all. To me, they are not a patch on anything on The Fame or The Fame Monster. Gaga’s recent car crash appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards as her alter ego Jo Calderone has not helped to re-instate my desire for more. Poor Britney Spears looked petrified as Gaga presented her with the ‘Michael Jackson Vanguard Award’.

Albums I am listening to at the moment that will be reviewed soon include The Sea by Melanie C, the new self titled Evanescence album and Torches by Foster the People.

 


Charlie Simpson’s Young Pilgrim

Reviewed by James Christopher Sheppard

Charlie Simpson is a name many will know. Some from his days as a third of teen bopping band Busted and some will know him as front man of alternative rock band Fightstar. Either way, Simpson has been known since 2002 and has been a part of five studio albums. At the age of 26, Charlie is releasing his first full-length solo release and it sounds pretty distanced from anything the singer/songwriter has been involved in before.
‘Down Down Down’
First single from the album is a good indication of what is to come. The song is entirely acoustic driven, with thick as treacle vocals, laden with emotional depth. The folk-rock ballad is stacked with multi-layered harmonies and builds to a gentle climax.
10/10
‘Parachutes’
‘Parachutes’, also the second single, picks up the pace and builds on what ‘Down, Down’ has already established. This is possibly the most radio-friendly and mature that Simpson has ever sounded. Brilliant.
10/10
‘All at Once’
‘All at Once’ at first entices with it’s toe tapping beats, but the sound soon turns to a sorrow filled as the song of heartbreak progresses. Simpson’s vocals sound confident and crystal clear, with the song completely utilising his unique tones.
9/10
‘Thorns’
Gentle, with a subtlety that draws you right in to the melodic dreamy higher tones of vocal harmony going on in the background, ‘Thorns’ is a careful ballad. The softer verses against the more exuberant choruses work wonders here.
9/10
‘Cemetery’
The fifth track shifts the memento into a new direction. ‘Cemetery’ is a combination of pop-rock-folk, which makes for a charming reminiscent song and one of absolute authenticity. Simpson’s voice is pushed to the limit, experimenting with his higher range and occasionally showing moments of strain, which surprisingly, adds to the song.
9/10
‘Hold On’
The most mellow moment of the album so far, ‘Hold On’, is lead by multiple layers of Simpson’s harmonies against a backdrop of strings, arranged by the renowned string arranger, Audrey Riley. A well crafted smooth ballad.
9/10
‘I Need a Friend Tonight’
The second string lead track, with assistance from Riley, is simple and melodic. ‘Friend’ is mid-tempo, soft and changes the mood of the album somewhat, as Simpson and the song both remain quite delicate and fragile. It’s hard to decipher whether ‘Friend’ is Simpson claiming he has found or is looking for religion, or if he is claiming he is lost and still can’t find his way home. I’ll let you decide, but it’s a pleasant song all the same.
7/10
‘Suburbs’
The tempo picks up a little with ‘Suburbs’, but the song in all it’s simplicity does little to further what is already great about Young Pilgrim. ‘I need you now, I need you now’ Simpson repeats. It’s possibly the least remarkable song on the album, but it still is not bad.
6/10
‘Sundown’
The temp change was only temporary as we are back down to the balladry of ‘Hold On’. ‘My heart is yearning for you dear’- this strikingly scarce track is one of the most powerful on Young Pilgrim in terms of pure passion.
9/10
Read the rest of the review at Eyewear