JAMES JOHN­STON

Q (UK) - - Review | New Albums -

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

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