Membran [Release date 06.05.16]
Fraser Anderson is something of a well-kept secret. Unless you’re a regular Bob Harris listener.
A Scot, who relocated to the southwest of France, Fraser Anderson’s 2003 debut ‘… and the girl with the strawberry’ was well received, landing him a support slot for Joan Armatrading. He’s released two subsequent albums Coming Up For Air (2007) and Little Glass Box (2012).
Oft compared to Nick Drake and John Martyn, his softly understated style makes it easy to see why he’s remained under the radar. And his material doesn’t instantly grab the attention it needs to be listened to in a quiet place and savoured.
Moving back to the UK in 2014, and with crowd funding secured, Fraser decamped to Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios to record Under The Cover Of Lightness, and there’s no denying it’s a thing of beauty. Anderson’s delicately soulful vocals caress as he skates, butterfly like, across a myriad of styles.
The opener ‘Simple Guidance’ is easy listening jazz-pop Antonio Carlos Jobim meets David Gray, with some exquisite double bass and trumpet, ‘Beautiful Eyes’ echoes Portishead with sumptuous female backing vocals, and ‘Go On Wide’ surprises with its techno beats, birdsong and subtle Gilmour-style guitar lines.
‘Please Let This Go’ aches in its remorsefulness, the sensual strings, pipes and swelling organ (ooh err, misuss) of ‘The Wind And The Rain’ wonderfully restrained, and the bluesy guitar lines of’ Feel’ caress with a seldom experienced intimacy.
The hip hop beat and rap of ‘With You All’ comes from leftfield but works inexplicably well, the mournful strings of ‘Crying From My Heart’ bleed in their intensity, and minimalist clarinet(?) the perfect counterpart to ‘Five Days’ desolate tale a broken heart.
An album of rare beauty. ****
Review by Pete Whalley
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