C Duncan – Alluvium review

The past is history and history is the past and what we choose to do with it depends on mood and expediency. For musicians a cycle has emerged in promotional terms where it’s expected to be critical of your previous work in order to pave the way for the new and improved you. This need for self deprecation doesn’t always apply; you can throw back further down the chain of old music if you have that luxury item of longevity on your CV, provided of course the leap isn’t too precipitously far into the dense fog of audience inaccessibility.

When it received a Mercury Prize nomination in 2015 Christopher Duncan’s first album Architect felt like the wildest of cards; made in his bedroom for practically nothing, it’s swoonsome reverie melded Nick Drake with Burt Bacharach amongst many other unlikely but wonderful juxtapositions. It’s successors The Midnight Sun and Health each sparked but never quite fulfilled that early promise, but on Alluvium the Scot, now settled on the country’s rural West Coast, has re-filtered his unerringly romantic dream pop, creating a new present from elements of old and new.

Like his debut, there are moments of almost bygone theatre such as Upon The Table, the harpsichord led title track and the filmic instrumental Lullaby. His craft remains a natural one and the charming sensibility of both opener Air and it’s melancholy partner Earth are familiarly timeless, but it’s the tousled synth pop of Heaven, Bell Tolls pristine MOR and especially the mellifluous – gorgeous – We Have A Lifetime that point to a mojo quietly regained. Soon, Alluvium will be the past, but one that will be fondly remembered.

You can read a full review here.

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