Sunday, 25 June 2017

Album: Blake's Fortune - Hello World

Blake's Fortune Hellow World

Info: Blake's Fortune is the work of Irish songwriter and musician John Lennon who hails from Dublin. He previously recorded and toured with Pina Kollars, an Austrian-born folk rock singer, when they were signed to Peter Gabriel's Real World Records. 'Hello World' marks his debut album and is a 10-track road-trip inspired by the American north-west.

Hello World by Blake's Fortune opens up with a Tom Petty style track in the shape of 'Hiatus', and lays down the marker for what is to follow across its 10 tracks, an atmospheric collection of Americana-inspired tracks. On second track 'Disconnected' Lennon opts for a more sparse sound initially, opening with just vocals and acoustic guitar, before eventually introducing percussion and bending electric guitar sequences. It's a slow-paced and rhythmic song which aligns itself with his 'road-trip' vision of blurred landscapes passing by through car windows. It's a neat and enjoyable track which pulls you in slowly to its mood, closing out with a soft instrumental refrain.

'Going Slow' ends any suspicions that the album will just 'run into itself' from start to finish, and it's a highlight on Hello World for me, funky rhythms and beats coupled with soul-inspired backing vocals give it a real 70's vibe that works very well. On 'Heart's Roulette' we have a nice Irish folk tinge courtesy of the moody fiddle playing, it's a nice mix with the instrumental closing minute of the track setting things up for the second half of the album.

We are quite some distance away from where the album opened with 'Hiatus' by the time we reach 'Climbing', with Blake's Fortune venturing into more mellow and fulsome ambient folk territory, a hazy blues guitar wobbles in and out, and there's a bit of a War on Drugs feel to the whole affair. The move toward more contemporary indie-folk continues on the enjoyable 'Father', and on 'Moot Point' Lennon dips his toe into some very special places. The track crosses over between Elliott Smith and the type of lo-fi slumber you might have come across on The Beatles' later tracks. 

The upbeat and electro-infused beats of 'Point Reyes' are up next, an interesting blending of country-folk vocals and guitar with modern electronic leanings, again not something you would have expected to come across at the early stages of the LP. Hello World closes with 'Chance', and from a personal perspective it didn't grab me as much as the other tracks and may have fitted in better earlier in the album as a bridge of sorts. 

That said, overall Hello World is filled with numerous tracks that give you something different, it's quite a charming journey that Blake's Fortune brings you on from start to finish, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. For a debut album it offers many potential paths to go down on future releases and there's no doubt that Lennon is more than just your average good song-writer, the next steps, which may have already begun, will be interesting to say the least.

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