16 November, 2013 in Music Reviews
Manchester’s favourite folk-singing doctor releases his debut long player, showing off an impressive vocal range and some nifty guitar work
ukh is a busy man. While writing and producing his debut album Kings, the Mancunian folk aficionado continued in his demanding role as doctor. But the multi-talented artist clearly put the worries of the day job aside when conjuring the nine blissful songs that make up Kings. It’s a successful debut with all the hallmarks of a fledgling but inspired songwriter.
It’s Sukh’s raw, unabashed vocals that define the album, with understated verses leaping into the powerful choruses that characterise songs like Chair and Now/Tomorrow. He has a gentle tone, almost shy in its delivery but with the ability to hit soaring notes, evidencing a wide and varied vocal range.
Kings has a dreamlike innocence reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens or Badly Drawn Boy, and the strings are there too. But unlike many recent folk albums they are joined by something surprising – a soaring electric guitar. It’s most evident on Arisen, where the wailing instrument complements the singer’s rousing vocals. Sometimes this extra element can detract from the complex instrumentals going on beyond Sukh’s dominant voice and, as is the case with Clear Horizon, slip into the realm of cheesy Americana, but this is rare.
At times Sukh is joined by a female vocalist. The two complement each other well and the harmonies produced are spellbinding. On the downside, though, Sukh has been a bit over-eager with the reverb button – it would have been nice to hear this raw talent without the heavy post-production.
Verdict: A little over-worked in places, but brimming with potential