Feeling thankful for the intricate and cinematic design of a project both atmospheric and intentional – R John Webb crafts a uniquely gripping album, to weave the story of The Ingenious Gentleman Dandy The Vandal and The Godforsaken Sweethearts.
Starting things off is the chaotic and unsettling circus intensity of Toast Town, lyric-free yet provocative in its own increasingly bold and haunting fashion. We’re intrigued, but keen to connect – a job that’s done beautifully by the subsequent Americana anthem of character and story, Dandy the Vandal.
Gifted this voice, a strong groove and short lines of scene and event, the album continues to light up the space and exercise its right to be freely expressive and musically skilful all at once. Versatility is essential, and we hear this in the shift to a passionate anthemic chorus for We Are The Subterraneans.
Nostalgic by nature but also refreshingly original in topic and tune, there are plenty of ideas and images scattered throughout this project – so much so that a single listen is far from enough to find all the golden implications. Fortunately, the music proves an easy embrace – from the rock and roll hits to the softer reflective offerings (Small Island a fine example of the latter).
Inspiration elevates the otherwise quirky-seeming undertones of the writing, and brilliant performances raise the bar further still – the likes of Do Duan Don hit with superb peaks and catchy licks combined.
Coup Coup Collider is a favourite, stylish and slick, instrumentally infectious, then we get a little Bowie influence in the form of Feel The Madness, before an ocean of voices and a pop-rock progression provoke keen interest in the live show, for We Belong To Her.
A decidedly raw, vintage capture of The Moment You Love Me completes the playlist with all the more unexpected artistry and nostalgia.
Rather than actually being the decade compilation it often sounds like, this album from multi-instrumentalist R John Webb is a consistently unpredictable, modern solo record, and proves ultimately refreshing and fascinating of its own accord.
Download or stream The Ingenious Gentleman Dandy The Vandal and The Godforsaken Sweethearts here.