Gentlemen’s Whiskers: Demonstration I: Heroine – ep review
Leeds-based singer/songwriter Michael Carrington, AKA Gentlemen’s Whiskers provides a personal take on a traditional format. Louder Than War’s Ian Critchley reviews.
In a world that is seemingly filled with artists that are nothing but carefully polished turds it’s always a bloody big breath of fresh air to hear something that is not only fantastic musically, but has managed to achieve a sound and atmosphere that has all the warmth of a weekend spent masturbating in a wooden cabin next to a roaring fire in the middle of fucking nowhere on a budget that is probably less than zero. This EP is exactly that and so much more.
In terms of comparisons, the obvious connections to acts like Nick Drake, Iron And Wine, and even Laura Marling to a lesser extent, are clear and apparent but all the while Gentlemen’s Whiskers manages to maintain an original scent that puts the EP in league with the former mentioned artists, rather than being a mere copy. It’s Nick Drake without the impending doom, Laura Marling without the digs at the guy from Noah And The Whale, and Iron and Wine without the Twilight soundtrack.
The record was clearly recorded at home, with each track having a faint background hiss, but even within these settings an ambience as been created that utilises the warm analogue feel of many original folk recordings. The songs paint a picture of a world way before the present day, a world of quiet solitude yet to be tainted with the hustle and bustle of the modern nine to five.
Personally I feel this album would work fine as a “one man, one guitar” style but I’m glad Genlemen’s Whiskers vouched for additional instrumentation as this, though the extras still play heavily into that “folk” feel, gives each song a multitude of interesting layers which only help to fuel the fire of the original sentiment. But to call this record wholly a “folk” effort would be to look with cloudy eyes, as the further you listen the deeper the influences seep through. ‘Week In, Walk Out’ is a great example of this, and has a lead riff that is more akin to the sound of today’s Math-Rock bands than it is to traditional folk.
Though from an outside perspective this record may seem to be a somewhat sombre effort, that warm analogue feel and upbeat percussive elements give the entire record a strong glimmer of hope that often manages to push past the deep dulcet vocals and this creates a sound that can be appreciated by anyone who enjoys good quality music, and not just the broody folk collective.
I would very much like to see Gentlemen’s Whiskers tour with my good friends in Hanami very soon.