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Findlay Brown Separated By The Sea Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

One can only hope that someone allows him the space to really develop his own voice...

Chris Jones 2007

We’re living in an age of ‘sensitive’ sing-songwriters again. The one danger is that in this ubiquity of so-called ‘modern folk’ you need an angle. Young Findlay’s CV seems to try a little too hard to raise his profile above the mainstream by presenting his life story thus far as something that almost beggars belief: supposedly a man who learned bare knuckle boxing with gypsies, sold his dad’s set of Beatles autographs to buy his first Gibson guitar and whose songs are inspired by his attempts to win back his ‘muse’, Marie, who resides in Denmark (hence the title) etc. etc.

This self-mythologising does him no favours and belies the fact that, while he shows no ability as yet to ‘write a ‘‘Blackbird’’-type song in a day’ as his website claims, he certainly does have some seeds of a major talent. His playing is assured, his lyrics err just on the right side of ‘sensitive’ and his voice is an emotive tool.

While the Simon and Garfunkel comparisons seem specious it’s certainly true that he’s soaked up a certain West Coast ‘me generation’ ambience. Opener “I Will” is pure David Crosby, and “But You Love Me” is redolent of the psychedelic folk of bands like Kaleidoscope. But this is the trouble – the sparks of originality are too often buried beneath productions that ape their predecessors. Songs like the title track and “Paper Man” feature the obligatory Nick Drake-type string arrangements, signifying ‘pastoral’ but pushing the whole exercise into coffee table land. Expect to hear them in a St*rb*cks near you soon. One can only hope that someone allows him the space to really develop his own voice. Someone this promising deserves better.

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