J.W. Schuller “No Mud In Joyville” (Independent, 2018)

“Quirky” is difficult to get right as it can easily slide into archness or clever clever pointlessness. JW Schuller’s acoustic folk-pop nails it though, and on his second release, a seven song, twenty-six minute mini-album he offers up a nice range of thoughts and emotions. The title track is a contemporary ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ sung with tongue firmly in cheek while ‘Poor Little Us’ wryly deconstructs the choices facing a singer-songwriter to amusing effect, complete with a borrowing of Roxette’s “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” line. By contrast the poignant ‘Uncle Norm & The Ash Tree’ and ‘Caterpillars’ (who didn’t know they could be butterflies” tug at the heartstrings powerfully.

Musically by and large it’s just Schuller and his guitar with just the odd bit of extra instrumentation, which allows his gift for humour and melody to shine. This is a set that repays repeated listening and will always raise a smile or two and a nod of recognition, which can’t be a bad thing.

6/10

Summary

Entertaining and quirky folk-pop

Author: Jeremy Searle

Deputy Editor & Videos Editor at Americana UK, promoter at Greenbird Promotions, writer for R2 and Maverick magazines, possessor of more CDs than is entirely decent and inveterate hoarder.

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