Album review: JON BODEN – Afterglow

Hudson Records [Release date 06.10.17]

‘Afterglow’ follows on from Jon Boden’s 2009 post-apocalyptic concept album ‘Songs From The Floodplain’. Whereas that album was largely rural in its setting, ‘Afterglow’ takes the listener into the chaos of a ruined city’s street carnival, as two star-crossed lovers try to find each other amongst a backdrop of burning oil drums and home-made fireworks. Jon Boden explained his ideas behind the concept at his one man acoustic show and the chaotic Lewes bonfire carnival provided a lot of the ideas behind some of the songs on here.

This is not folk in its purest sense, although the songs could well become part of folklore in the near future and indeed this album was launched by a campfire performance. Instead Jon Boden takes some folk elements and weaves them into his storyline to great effect. A string trio Kiki Chen (violin), Helen Bell (viola) and Lucy Revis (cello) provide much of the musical backing, adding atmosphere to songs like the beautifully crafted ’Fires Of Midnight’.

‘The Stars Are Coming Out Tonight’ features guitar, strings, brass and a big beat drum sound – this one would be a single in old parlance. Indie rock with a beautiful main melody.

Elsewhere the closing duo of ‘Yellow Lights’ and ‘Aubade’ delve into progressive music - the former haunting strings back a mournful vocal from Jon, the latter a melodic treat which starts off with birdsong, a message of possibly meeting again and leaving the scene ready for the next part.

Wonderful music from Mr Boden and I did I mention he used to be in Bellowhead? No? Well this album sees him stride off confidently onto his own musical path and the album leaves you looking forward to the final part of this trilogy. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


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