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Dead Man's Suit by Jon Allen

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Reviewed on 4th August 2009.


Dead Man's Suit

By Jon Allen

There was a part of me that really wanted to like this album. Admittedly, it wasn't the adventurous part of me. It was not that part of me keen to champion anything remotely new or interesting in music, but that part (a part of me nonetheless) which respects fine musicianship and well crafted style. Unfortunately, even that part of me ended up slightly bored after a couple of listens. Only bored, I admit; not nauseous and in need of a sick-bag, but bored all the same and not left likely to re-spin the disc any time soon.

Elegant picking that veers between the bluesy and folksy provides a solid musical backdrop. Add to this a vocal style which, at times, is not a million miles from Rod Stewart and organ work in the Stevie Winwood line and you could have had come up with something half-decent in the fashion of Blind Faith or the Faces. Unfortunately, the influences are drawn more from Mr Stewart's (lengthy) bland period than his impassioned youth, and the keys might mostly have come from Jamie Cullum for all the passion they muster. For me, this workout is definitely missing a spark.

The LP does have its moments. Opener 'In Your Light' has enough soul to it to suggest that it's not just been cobbled together by numbers, ditto 'Happy Now.' Beyond that there are too many stripped-down numbers (for which read 'indulgent acoustic noodlings,') and 'blues' infused with about as much suffering as a night out in a cosy wine bar. Yes, there's decent musicianship in evidence here, and you wouldn't object to it being played in the corner of the room as you sip your pinot grigio, but I doubt you'd want to dash out and buy the record. Unless, that is, you're in charge of the playlist at Starbucks.



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