Chicken Wire Records [Release date 17.11.17]
Currently on tour opening for Jools Holland, and with the endorsement of broadsheets like The Times and The Guardian ringing in his ears, North-East singer songwriter RJ Thompson’s debut studio album sails about as close to ‘pop’ as GRTR! ventures.
But despite support slots with Gabrielle Aplin, Deacon Blue, and Jools (including a performance at the Royal Albert Hall), several EPs and a live album under his belt, Echo Chamber offers only a meagre 9 tracks over 32 minutes. Which somewhat belies The Guardian’s PR quote of ‘Prolific. ..’
But unlike many of his acoustic guitar wielding contemporaries, Thompson occupies a far more eclectic and diverse space. With vocals that have the just the faintest whiff of Phil Collins, a vintage Roland 808 drum machine providing the foundations, more than just a casual nod to the Eighties, and melodies infused with a heavy dose of soul, Echo Chamber is a beautifully constructed piece of pop.
In the days when the likes of Kajagoogoo and Nik Kershaw were dominating the charts, Echo Chamber would have been up there, selling like hot cakes. But those days are long gone, and despite the undisputable writing quality and delivery of songs the opening pairing of the title track and ‘Blackout Windows’ I suspect Thompson is going to struggle to carve out a sustainable marketplace niche.
In many ways, Echo Chamber parallels the work of Jake Morley – another talented artist who, despite best endeavours has found it difficult to establish a toe hold much deeper than a healthy social media based following. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.
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Power Plays w/c 5 August (Mon-Fri)
COCO MONTOYA I Wouldn’t Wanna Be You (Alligator)
SKYFEVER Burning Hands (OTI Records)
HENRY’S FUNERAL SHOE High Shoulders Everywhere (indie)
MICHAEL J BOLTON Trans Lunar Injection (Market Square)
Featured Albums w/c 5 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 STRANDED New Dawn (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 HOLLOW HAZE Between Wild Landscapes And Deep Blue Sea (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 SESSION AMERICANA North East (indie)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BRIAN ROBERTSON – Diamonds And Dirt (2011)
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