Colin Riley: Shenanigans
Various Artists NMC ★★★★★
This portrait album of composer Colin Riley is a charmer: fun name, fun cover art, opening track a taut and wonky disco called Purl. But it’s more than that, too, and there’s something very endearing about the way Riley deflects the beauty and sincerity at the heart of his pieces by giving them names such as Bob or A Cool Carfuffle. Inspirations include Genesis, John Martyn and Joy Division; there’s a delicate set of Lyric Pieces, and a closing piano solo in dreamy soft-grain called As the Tender Twilight Covers. The title work is a collection of six miniatures, whose lopsided rhythms are cut with snippets of gentler stuff. The performances (violist Jessica Beeston, clarinettist Tom Lessels, pianist Kate Halsall and others) get the right balance of wry, fond, understated and slightly bonkers.