Single Review: Poor Nameless Boy – Atlantic Ocean

Editor's Review
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Poor Nameless Boy has just released his new single Atlantic Ocean. The man behind Poor Nameless Boy is Canadian Joel Henderson whose folk-influenced sound is beautifully mellow. Henderson’s songs are inspired by life’s ups and downs and his lyrics are honest and raw, delving deeply into his true emotions. Acoustic guitar is a constant throughout Henderson’s tracks, his voice often the only other accompaniment needed to transfer his story from paper to the musical airwaves.

Plucky guitar strings lend Atlantic Ocean a chipper edge from the onset, but the accompaniment of deep, brooding strings darkens the tone. Henderson’s vocals are honey-smooth with a slight Canadian lilt and a subtle folky twinge. For me the opening of the track sounds reminiscent of The Shins’ Mildenhall: all acoustic guitars, and softly accented male vocals. But any comparison to The Shins’ highly accomplished songwriter and frontman James Mercer is nothing but a compliment. A track about love, loss and uncertainty, its lyrics most definitely tug at the heart strings. The Atlantic Ocean in this instance represents the void of space between a man and his partner after she departs without any word on when she will return. The lyric “When you’re done with this continent you’ll be done with me” underscores the notion of melancholy and presents this situation that the singer is faced with as being on a vast scale and feeling bigger than him himself. Henderson’s ability to draw in the listener with his captivating storytelling has elicited comparisons to the brilliant lyricist Conor Oberst, popularly known as lead singer and songwriter for Bright Eyes. He shares Oberst’s gift of being able to convey a story in its rawest, most stripped back form with no need for bells and whistles.

The track’s accompanying video depicts the protagonist journeying across the globe, in what I read as being in pursuit of his partner. The ocean waves are a constant theme throughout, an ode to the vast dangerous hidden depths in something that from the outside may appear serene. The video is shot on hand-held cameras in a simple, documentary style which further adds to the viewer’s ability to empathise with the story being told. The raw simplicity of the track is mirrored perfectly in this video.

Atlantic Ocean is taken from Poor Nameless Boy’s second album Bravery which was released last year. The album’s title track follows a similar vein to Atlantic Ocean with downtempo guitars and an atmosphere of sorrow, but this time with lyrics such as “why do we trudge along having faith in what we can’t see?” provoking the listener to open their eyes and thin about the big picture in life.

Poor Nameless Boy is currently touring the UK with dates in the capital as well as the south coast and the midlands. He’s been playing Caffe Nero Sessions and Sofar Sounds, intimate live acoustic sessions which are a perfect fit for his mellow vibe.

Catch him on one of his live sessions on the dates below:

May 18 – Brighton The Great Escape

May 19 – Brighton – The Great Escape (Caffe Nero Sessions – 3pm)

May 20 – Brighton, The Great Escape (Daytime industry show)

May 21 – Travel Day: London-Brussels

May 22 – Brussels, House Show

May 23 – Paris, Pop in

May 24 – Metz, 7(7)

May 25 – Nancy, Off Kultur

May 27 – Liverpool, Sound City

May 28 – Liverpool, Sound City

May 29th – Sofa Sounds London

Find out about Poor Nameless Boy here and have a listen to Atlantic Ocean below.

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