Paul Cook and The Chronicles’ EP Radar was released on June 2nd 2014. Paul Cook, not to be confused with the drummer of the Sex Pistols is a young sing songwriter based in London. It consists of three tracks. Admittedly, acoustic music is generally something I am not accustomed to listening to. The problem with this genre, is that there is so much of it out there. There is so much to root through and so little of them that really grab me beyond old clichéd favourites.
I believe the finest of the romantic singer songwriters was Jeff Buckley who’s songs dealt with aching unrequited love, obsession, betrayal and anger. Buckley could express with his almost operatic vocals an angst that could cut you open more than any grunge band of his generation. More contemporary artists like Iron and Wine, Bon Iver, Damien Rice and to a certain extent the punk rock influenced Frank Turner have experienced massive success and a following. A lot of people like myself have developed a certain amount of cynicism about sad men with beards and acoustic guitars but nonetheless this will be a fair and impartial review.
Paul’s Tumblr account shows playlists containing artists such as Elliot Smith, Teenage Fanclub and generational peer Mac DeMarco and I am only guessing the stripped down styles of the aforementioned have struck a chord with the artist.
The E.P opens with the track Radar which sounds like a simple expression of frustration at having an infatuation that is one sided, “I’m not even on your radar”. I feel the track has enough pop appeal that I could imagine it on the radio. Lyrically it doesn’t wear you out with clichés and is a straightforward well rounded track.
The track “Universe” reminds me of a lullaby and almost like something I have listened to from a Sub Pop label compilation. The song is romantic, acoustic driven and some nice harmonies add an upbeat flavour to the song. My favourite track would have to be the closing song “Destroyer”. The stripped down nature of this track combined with the haunting production and simple lyrics make the song the most special and standout for me. Overall the E.P offers an admirable variety in sounds and ambience with each track. Radar doesn’t try too hard and I think that’s why it works. If you’re a fan of stripped down and romantic acoustic music, Paul Cook and The Chronicles would be a welcome addition to your library.
Radar by Paul Cook and The Chronicles was released on Grampa Stan Records on June 2nd 2014. The EP is also available to stream on Spotify.