Avison has a gentle voice and writes gentle tunes, which means there’s a danger his songs could be merely bland. We receive albums that are so unutterably dull that we can think of nothing to say about them (good or bad) but this is not one. Although on a couple of occasions he does veer towards forgettable, and we think some of the songs would have been better suited to just him and an acoustic guitar, making them atmospheric as opposed to easy listening.
Track three, Smoke, is perhaps the standout. Rather a fine tune, in fact atmospheric with added harmonies. He adds some brass (which could be synth) and which we don’t think adds to the tune, shifting from a gentle Cosmic Rough Riders vibe to vaguely Paul Simon, but it’s a good tune.
The title track opens and it’s also pretty good, building nicely and driven along the bass, the drummer cross sticking the snare (that quieter clack sound).
We also like Careless Drive, a gentle summery tune; a bit Nizlopi/JCB Song, not just because they both involve wheels but via a childlike simplicity.
Be Your Lullaby opens with nice bass but never quite works, Avison trying to put an emotion into his vocal we don’t think his voice can carry. Maybe it would be better slowed down and the brushed drums dropped.
Just A Little Crazy is the same. On some songs he has a second voice behind his, and this works better.
There are no bad songs, though No Other Love is perhaps the weakest. Anyone who has played in a band may have experienced band-composed songs that never work and then get cobbled together into one song in the hope the work can be salvaged, but it always feels like two weak songs joined at the hip to make something worse; No Other Love sounds like that.
So: a flawed album but still a decent effort. Just as there are fans of non-league football who talk about keeping it real, there are fans of grassroots music who will appreciate this honest collection.
Find out more at benavison.co.uk