Fine country stylings from Bolton's latest homegrown talent...
Chris Long 2007
Since Simon Aldred decided to follow in fellow Boltonian Damon Gough’s footsteps and take a curious moniker back in 2005, his star has been on a permanent rise.
Having conquered his home town with alarming speed, he’s found major radio play, turned in a fine performance on Jools Holland’s Later… before he’d even cut a single and managed to crash one of Jo Wylie’s interminable links during the Glastonbury coverage.
It’s easy to see why he’s gained such interest. In a time when singer-songwriters seem to be aiming to out-bland each other, his music is filled with unusual references, intriguing influences and, considering he’s from the North-West of England, an unexpected scent of country.
In a way, the name explains it all. It’s taken from Wilco’s ''Theologians'' and shows that, while his local rivals have found themselves dipping their cups into the same old pool of Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher off-cuts, he’s spread his ear wider to produce a sound with more depth and imagination.
As a result, Thirst For Romance is a hefty record, filled with the kind of songs that are mature but never MOR – something that’s showcased neatly by his two singles, the poignant ''Mathematics'' and the rallying ''People Help The People''.
Those songs aren’t the only finery on offer. Alongside them, the rumbling dustbowl drama of ''4am'', ''Mountain Bird''’s rollicking country kick, the tear-jerking epicness of ''Dead Man’s Suit'' and ''Mary On The Mend''’s slow-burning heroism are all bold underlinings of his considerable talent.
What’s most impressive is that this is only his debut. If he has a career worth of songs like these, Aldred could find himself rubbing shoulders with the bands that inspired him to begin with. Until then, he’ll just have to make do with having produced one of the most competent and sparkling debuts of the year.