Howie Payne: Mountain

review payne x1 cong

Payne was previously in The Stands, short-lived melodic rockers treading the same ground as The Thrills and The LAs. We found their appeal, like that of The Thrills, limited.

This album was recorded over four days. Most of the songs were done in a couple of takes, giving it a relaxed, live vibe. While he walks a narrow musical road, his voice is pleasant and there’s enough variation to keep it interesting.

His vocals remind us of someone we can’t (irritatingly) put a finger on. Barclay James Harvest maybe? Or Iain Matthews?

The tunes are somewhere between folk, pop and country, with a 60s folk scene vibe.

Opener Quick As The Moon sums it all up: acoustic guitar, vocals and some piano, all very gentle.

An early standout is All Of These Things, with a pleasing piano intro and an almost Elizabethan sound. It veers towards the twee; it might be too much for some, an earworm for others.

Overall, earnest music redeemed by its gentleness, that live feel and a basic likeability.

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