Oliver Knight

Mysterious Day

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Oliver Knight comes to his solo album with a strong pedigree. Not only is he the son of a great English folk figure (Lal Waterson), he's also the producer of choice to many folk figures, with a strong sonic sensibility and excellent instrumental chops. But although he could have taken the easy route and made a very convincing folk album, he's refused to do that, opting instead for something very individual that owes more to rock than his immediate background. He sets his stall out early with the "Mysterious Day," a lovely, full piece of singer/songwriterdom, before heading into an atmospheric instrumental. In many ways, this seems to be a chance for Knight to test his arranging skills, which are considerable, like the power of the plucked strings on "Emotion" against the guitar. Cousin Eliza Carthy contributes vocals to "Go from My Window," a real folk song given a funky rock treatment, while "South Seas" is grand fake Polynesian, a bit like a musical tiki bar. Bringing in a bunch of different singers, all from the folk tradition, is an excellent idea, and setting them against type, as is using one of his mother's excellent songs ("Evona"), as well as one he wrote with her, along with much of his own work. He's nothing if not eclectic, as a debut deserves, especially when it's all so well executed, and his guitar work is sensational throughout.

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