William Blackart “Return” (Independent, 2018)

Opening in fine style with ‘Devil may Care’ this album promised much. A great opener, all discordant slashes of electric guitar and gravelly vocals set over a melancholy acoustic figure. Terrific. The following track lowers expectations with its anodyne acoustic offering wherein Blackart’s voice is the only outstanding highpoint. A treacly, old as the hills, lamenter.

The Criminal’ lifts hopes once more with its slow waltz and building tension as more instruments feed into the production. Thereafter, we return to the troubadour model – acoustic guitar and lonesome vocal on the lyrically interesting ‘Atlantis Calling’. But an album needs more than lyrics to stand above the crowd and the following tracks including ‘Long Shot’ (sounding as if it’s slightly out of tune at one point), ‘Dear Diane’ a slight foot tapper, ‘Fools’ Web’ and ‘Transient Chapter 3’ all fade into each other on repeated plays and not in a good way. ‘I Know Mine’ is a change of style that is a welcome palate cleanser – ukulele and a nicely constructed build to the bouncing conclusion. This album needs more of this sort of well arranged and delivered songwriting. A highpoint.

The album finishes with the title track – a return to the troubadour style Blackart prefers – all cracked vocals and aching lyricism. It’s good but not outstanding, and outstanding is what is required to break out of a very crowded genre.

There is a talent here but it needs nurturing and perhaps direction.

Patchy offering from talented Arkansas troubadour
5/10

Author: Keith Hargreaves

Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up

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