'Face' by Nigel Clothier - razor-sharp lyrics and impressive musicianship (June 15, 2010) 

Nigel Clothier writes lyrics you can both understand but identify with. His precisely crafted words reveal human emotions of love and life, yearning and desire overlaid with more than a touch of gentle cynicism. His album  Face  delivers those insightful lyrics through a medley of relaxed American folk tunes tinged with blues-influenced country rock. All the songs on  Face  are Clothier originals, with instruments and vocals by him too. Each song blessed with an insistent melody and an instantaneous hook that gets inside your head. 

The accuracy of Nigel s lyrics is sharp enough to cut through the background noise in your head and immediately hit the  remember me  button. These are songs that sound so familiar you can t believe they don t live in your memory from some previous time. And there s not an average song in this collection. They re all excellent.

 You Come Here  is direct enough to touch a familiar nerve. It s the song you re sure you ve heard before and to add to the déj  vu effect there s more than a memory of an Orbison-style delivery. And damn good it is too. It s followed by  I m Gone  which, with a delicious fiddle accent, keeps the same flavour.  It s Alright  skim s along in a wave of jangling guitar, more perceptive lyrics with Nigel s usual idiosyncratic metre and one-line rhymes - but it s all the better for that.

 Born and Raised  is a classic Americana story with the hallmark of a unforgettable song. If this doesn t become the soundtrack to a landmark road movie there isn t any justice.  Cheerleader  is a frank and balefully truthful song that makes clear the flaws all too obvious in any relationship. Love the line:  You made me a domestic prisoner.   Bed of Rhythm  thuds its lusty message through its mesmeric primal beat and haunting double-tracked voices. The gentle questioning of  Half Full  creates a striking song with the occasional unexpected rhyme that takes away any certainty of what to expect from the lyrics. I can hear this playing at the end of many parties. Then of course there s the picturesque narration of  Harvest Dance  changing the mood back to lively expectation   another classic in the making.

Ashton-in-Makerfield in the North-West of England may not be the first place to look for pure-blood Americana but think again, you ll be hard-pressed to find better. And if that genre, augmented by razor-sharp lyrics and equally impressive musicianship, is for you, go out and buy  Face . 


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