When your name is James McArthur, you’re just a Mc away from being confused with an X Factor winner. Celtic ancestry to the rescue. James is the former drummer with Paul Weller’s touring band and Joe Magill (of Syd Arthur) assisted in this album’s creation. Of the name Head Gardeners, James says, “It’s the audio equivalent of Gardening, aiming to make a sonic view. The combination of Acoustic guitar, Pedal steel and violin makes a hypnotic sound.” This is the second album released by the band after first offering ‘Strange Readings from the Weather Station.’
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The feel of the album is subtle and melodic, based around vocals, violin and a country vibe. So if this is your bag, you will be delighted with its folksy niceness. It’s so gentle that at times it’s hard to hear the lyrics or really get a handle on what message is meant to be conveyed with the album. A bit of a blasting vocal from time to time would really makes the eyes widen in this beige soundscape.
‘Bluest Stone’ is possibly the best track as it has a (little) bit of oomph about it, some nice layering of guitar skills and complimentary harmonising vocals. “Let me find the bluest stone to put on your finger, then there’s some loving to do,” is a very sweet lyric.
As a stickman, you might expect some prominent drums from James, but this is not the case. In fact, little is prominent. It’s all very gentle and whimsical, and while initially quite charming, it becomes apparent as the album goes on that there is little up and down, light and shade or variation in tempo or style. Put simply … there’s little to lure the listener in.
‘Burnt Moth’ is out now on Moorland Records.