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Balsamo Deighton: Unfolding

review balsamo deighton x1 cong

We’ve had this for some weeks and we’ve played it a lot. It’s modern English pop/country and while there is nothing outstanding, it’s written and played to the highest standards. Some songs have got close to being earworms — Light In The Dark is one — and we love the guitar solo on the harmonica-laden Steve Earlish Ride It, but there’s nothing that leaps out and grabs the ears.

To balance this, it’s packed full of melody, tunes and nice vocals, and the songs are all growers (especially the increasingly tasty Ride It now we’ve played it six or seven times more).

Background: Balsamo Deighton is Steve Balsamo and Rosalie Deighton, and this is their debut album. We’ve not seen them but we’d guess cowboy boots, pin-down collars, flowery, flowing dresses. And that’s just Steve.

After meeting 10 years ago working on respective debut solo albums, they bonded over a love of 70s singer/songwriters, country music (and cake, says the Press release, making this the first cake-generated album of the year).

Rosalie is part of The Deighton Family (confession: we never heard of them, they’re a folk ensemble from Yorkshire), and said to be one of Britain’s finest female vocalists, while Steve is from The Storys; we have heard of them but this is much better.

Lyrically, they’re “grown up songs on the human condition”, say the two via a Press release (we weren’t sent the lyrics). Inspiration ranges from romantic encounters to a British soldier who died in Afghanistan, by way of a night-time drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

Musically, it’s tight, precision pop with the sound of people like the aforementioned Steve Earle, as well as Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, and Crowded House/Finn Brothers, though consistently easier on the ear than some of the latter’s more pedestrian tracks. Their voices go together well, and if someone told you they were Nashville and not Welsh/Yarkshire, you’d believe it.

This is a consistently good album that should see them attract a larger fanbase than their previous endeavours. Very good; try Ride It or 50-Foot Jesus.

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