Published on Apr 22, 2013
The title track to Huw Costin's album 'Something/Nothing'. Video by Emma Reading
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"Huw Costin makes classic records with an attention to detail not often heard anymore - achingly beautiful, direct and gentle poetry"
Huw Costin 'Something/Nothing'
It doesn't take Huw Costin and his second solo album, 'Something/Nothing', long to get to the heart of the matter. Less than 45 seconds, in fact. Amidst grand orchestral sweeps and cannon shots of brass, the Nottingham based singer, songwriter and producer delivers the killer line: "Yes, I believe that we are doomed". It's not the most optimistic opening to an album, but anyone who's heard Costin's debut, 'Regrets', will know that lyrical transparency and candid sincerity are trademark qualities in his work.
'Something/Nothing' exhibits a true understanding of the ebb and flow of romance, recalling the rush and passion of both love and loneliness and carrying out sometimes painful but always heartfelt post-mortems on now disintegrated relationships.
Musically the album is expansive, eloquent, and honest. From the opening, grandiose strains of 'Doomed' to the fragile closing chamber strings of 'Butterfly Girls', 'Something/Nothing' is far more than a standard singer/songwriter album, having far more in common with some of the artists Costin admire most: Robert Wyatt and Roy Harper, Brian Eno and The Beach Boys, Julian Cope and Joni Mitchell. You can hear them all: in the details his lyrics offer, in the minutiae of his arrangements and harmonies, in the lack of self-consciousness he demonstrates.
There's a longing in the delicate slow motion melody of 'Move To The City' and there's comfort in the return to familiar faces and scenes that 'December' represents, its acoustic setting triumphantly swollen at the song's end by brass. The title track is similarly soothing and 'Disconnected' is a sweet, wide-eyed tune that threatens to blow wide open with trombone and e-bow. The album concludes with the short but charming 'Butterfly Girls', a plaintive acoustic number.
Costin has worked with both Brian Eno and Mark Lanegan but mostly his musical journey has been a ramble around the more obscure reaches of the indie world. He's as influenced by folk, country and rock of the 60's and 70's as the Nottingham ambient scene of the early 90's and has been compared to the likes of Big Star, Elbow and Jeff Buckley.
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