THE STARLESS ROOM CLOUDS HILL, OUT 18 NOVEMBER Gallon Drunk frontman drops the noise on stark solo debut.
Although he remains the kinetic frontman of blues-rockers Gallon Drunk, James Johnston has also spent the latter part of his career working with Nick Cave and PJ Harvey. His first solo album suggests he’s learned a few tricks from both. Having previously traded in a specific kind of after-hours dissonance, here he surprises with an unexpectedly stark romanticism inspired at least partly by his love for Isaac Hayes and Ray Charles. Tracks such as St Martha’s and Cold Morning Light exude a dramatic vulnerability, often being propelled by nothing more than a piano and background atmospherics. It’s that economy which gives this record its subtle power and makes it more than just a marker of time between other projects. JAMES OLDHAM
Listen To: St Martha’s | Dark Water | Cold Morning Light