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Gareth Dickson

Quite A Way Away (download)

By • Apr 4th, 2013 • Category: Album review

Funny story: Gareth Dickson, when not producing albums full of slightly angsty songs backed by technically impressive guitar, actually works as a Nick Drake tribute act. And when he’s not “Nicked Drake”, Dickson can be found moonlighting as Vashti Bunyan’s live guitarist.

So the biggest surprise about opener ‘Adrenaline’ is that neither of these facts are the first things that come to mind. Dickson’s Scots accent puts that idea to bed, a little, while his arpeggio guitar work, drenched in harmonics, certainly distracts the listener from any predictable comparisons.

But it’s when his voice begins to soar, and fall away, that the connection can be made fully. You can draw comparisons with a couple of contemporaries – Bert Jansch (now gone), and perhaps the closest current guitarist in this field, RM Hubbert, though Dickson’s use of his instrument tends to be melodic rather than percussive.

Take ‘Quite A Way Away’, itself an instrumental with cyclic patterns which mesmerise the listener. It may be that without vocals this could be a guitarist’s album – six string players tend to watch agape when in the company of a virtuoso. Indeed, non-musicians may also marvel at the technique displayed here – but are less likely to be whistling along to ‘This Is The Kiss’, something of a medieval shoegazer. ‘Happy Easter’ takes ambience (down) to new levels, while closer ‘Johan’ is a close cousin to a Durutti Column tune, all echoey stringwork and mumbled vocals. Whether it’s fans of introspective guitar, or just downbeat chillout music, there’s something for everyone here.

Jonah by Gareth Dickson on Grooveshark

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