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Glasgow-based Canadian Josh Thorpe has released his new album Love & Weather. Featuring Rory Haye (Alex Rex) on bass and Owen Curtis Williams (prev. Rozi Plain, Pictish Trail) on drums, the album is out now via Unusual Music Exchange.
Album opener ‘Rita & George’ sets the stall for what is to come: classic rock songwriting with a humorous, often vague lyrical content. Approaching eight minutes long, ‘Rita & George’ doesn’t stray too far from simple, yet effective, repetitive guitar lines; hypnotically lulling the listener into a mediative heading-bopping state. Thorpe’s eccentric lyrics become the thrust of the entire song as he shares his thoughts and feelings in a whirl of stream of consciousness. Thorpe’s vocals fit perfectly with the uncomplicated music, as he narrates his way through the song with lyrics like “when I went to high school, one of my friends had a haircut like a pop band from 1982”. The lyrics are delivered with a literary invective, tongue firmly in cheek.
‘Manhattan’, Thorpe’s debut single, immediately ups the pace, as discordant guitar segments blare from the speaker and Thorpe continues to explore a spoken-word style vocal delivery. Further enhanced by harmonies and a jerky rhythm section, Thorpe unleashes his inner rock star raging through a scuzzy guitar solo, guitars detuned and deliberately unconventional. While, most recent single ‘Down to the Ground’ illustrates Thorpe’s penchant for introspection as chiming, delicate guitar is accented by the gentle notes of Thorpe’s vocals, this time moving away from the now customary spoken-word delivery. ‘Down to the Ground’ is a rather beautiful sojourn through the emotive elements of Thorpe’s outlook on life as he delivers lines such as “you beat the sun right down on my earth, for me babe, for me babe”.
‘Why Try’ kicks off in a raucous, cacophony of guitars before slowing down, giving Thorpe the space to delver his lines in a way you’d expect Lou Reed in his pomp, before giving way to a pained Thorpe screaming “why try” over and over. A pointed, downbeat and reflective track ‘Why Try’ illustrates the depth of Thorpe’s discontent with the modern world we inhabit. ‘Honeysuckle and the Moon’ strays into Dirty Three territory as the band come together to create an atmospheric, eclectic instrumental, Thorpe’s vocals intensified by harmonies not dissimilar to artists such as Bonnie Prince Billy.
The album closes with a shorty ditty allowing Thorpe to deliver his final thoughts as he narrates “I want to run like deer in the woods, I wanna fly, I want blow over mountain tops”. ‘Love & Weather’ is a thoughtful, personal record that takes aim at modern life, but does so with a witty complexity and, at times, wry irreverence. Thorpe, who is also a visual artist, has neatly blended both disciplines and will combine the world’s of music and art by partnering with Canadian galleries YYZ Artists’ Outlet and Dunlop Art Gallery on a series of productions on the creative possibilities in sound and listening.
‘Love & Weather’ is out now via Unusual Music Exchange and available to stream on Spotify.