A soundtrack for the gathering gloom.
Daryl Easlea 2008-09-15
Although criticised for being Nick Drake-lite, Jon Redfern's work is full of almost whispered promise. What Else But Love? is his third offering, after May Be Sometime and Acoustic. He's played previously in the folk ensemble Tarras and I Love The Sun from May Be Sometime became something of a downtempo club smash.
What Else But Love? is a very low key, intimate work. You'd hardly say Redfern has a strong voice, but his fragile tones add fierce emotion to the understated work, full of finger-piano and minimalist guitar. Spark In The Sky evokes the mid-tempo grandeur of high-period Pink Floyd. Temporary goes off on a naïve reverie. When it goes uptempo, say, on the icy Rowing Away it does so with some élan.
Although the album is not overly memorable it's certainly not dull. I have to say, however, when Becky Unthank – arguably the most astounding voice among her sister Rachel's group the Winterset – steps up for a bit of vocal on the closing Don't Worry, she succeeds in totally eclipsing Redfern.
With its faults being counterbalanced by its promise in almost equal measure, What Else But Love? is a soundtrack for the gathering gloom.