- - 7/107/10
Famed for his top 20 1977 hit ‘Gimme Some’, singer songwriter Brendon has launched his diverse new album Hold My Hand.
It can be tough for artists who gain notoriety for one particular track. The connotations that come with producing a hit and how others subsequently view you can be difficult to shake. Familiarity and the desire to pigeonhole others is a human trait and can unfairly lump bands, artists, actors or anyone who follows a creative path in life into one specific field, one specific genre, one specific idea. This categorisation allows us to process what we are about to hear, see or interact with before we’ve even been exposed to it. This relates to Brendon.
A renowned folk-rock artist in his own right, Brendon signed to the famous UK Records label in 1975. Taking inspiration from the likes of Cat Stevens and Tim Buckley, the mop haired frontman was set to follow a similar trajectory. However, covering the Jimmy “Bo” Horne disco hit ‘Gimme Some’ propelled Brendon onto Top of the Pops and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, almost forty years later Brendon has written an album that is at the heart of his roots.
Opening with the self-titled single ‘Hold My Hand’, Brendon’s soft, uplifting vocals are cocooned by picked acoustic guitar and a memorable chorus. This is followed by the introspective ‘The Butterfly Song’ as Brendon plays with a psychedelic sound reminiscent of the likes of Syd Barrett, while ‘Why Am I A Virgin’ lifts the mood with its Kinks-style foot stomping driven drum beat and Brendon’s personal, and humorous, lyrics characterised by the line: “Why Am I Alone? I’ve got everything but looks, I own a home…”.
‘My Picture of You’ allows Brendon the space for his emotive vocal to flourish; soft, poignant and bittersweet. ‘Ring Ring’ alters the flow of the album significantly. The track feels as if it has been forced onto the album and doesn’t really marry with many of the other tracks. However, this appears to be a deliberate ploy by Brendon and in fact comes across as his creative memorandum: experiment with genre, sound and arrangement. Don’t compromise.
‘Fields’ offers a nod to the British folk movement of the 60’s, ‘Every Time’ is elevated by soothing string arrangements and ‘The Hats’ plays out like a protest song with Brendon delivering his manifesto. ‘Dreams’ ramps up the atmosphere perfectly as Brendon skilfully plucks his guitar, the track undulating throughout, building to a hypnotic close. ‘Not In My Back Yard’ sees Brendon end on a tongue in cheek note, taking influences from ‘Sunny Afternoon’ by The Kinks Brendon runs with it in his own, inimitable style.
Hold My Hand is an interesting record. The lack of coherence genre-wise isn’t a bad thing and almost plays like a collection of songs complied together rather than written as a stand alone ten track album. Songs such as ‘The Butterfly Song’ are real stand outs and really give the impression of Brendon at his creative best while ‘Ring Ring’ appear more whimsical giving the impression Brendon has decided ‘let’s try this shall we?’. Hold My Hand will appeal to a cross section of music lovers young and old and is the prefect example of Brendon’s ability to produce expansive, summery folk rock.
Hold My Hand by Brendon is out now.