Butcher the Bar : Sleep At Your Own Speed

<img src="https://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/butcherthebarsleepatyourown.jpg" alt=" " />Joel Nicholson moves to the beat of his own drum on his debut as Butcher the Bar, <em>Sleep At Your Own Speed</em>....
7.3 Morr
2008 

  The sweet-sounding Mancunian delivers some touching alt-folk, while keeping a restrained but fuzzy hand on his vocals.  More of a ‘total feel’ kind of a record than a collection of tracks, things do meld together on Sleep At Your Own Speed, but that just creates a lovely backdrop.

An intimate but natural record, Sleep feels both up-close and outdoors from the start, with the nice, fuzzy procession of “Getaway”.  That sort of soft distortion keeps up through much of the album, especially with Nicholson’s vocals, which act more as a support to his guitar work than an overlay above it.  The guitar stretches from the procession of the opener, middle track “Opening Night”, and finisher “Rounds” to the relaxed, alt-country twang of “Sex Szene”, “House/Home”, “Bike”, and “Ball Point Skin Notes”.

Nicholson does some further instrumental reaches, like the harmonica on “Szene”, finger-pluck on “You Know Everything”, and keys on “Head’s Contents”.  There are also some tonal stretches, from the straight-folk “Gumble” to the wistful “New Nest” and twee “The Boy You Miss the Most”.  Sometimes he can be a little too sweet, such as on “Gumble” or the pretty “Leave This Town”, but, over a few listens, the record really unites as one.  The atmosphere on Sleep At Your Own Speed is of lazy late spring/early summer days in the green backyards of England (or New England), where there’s nothing to do but while away the days you’ll later wish would’ve never ended.

MP3 Stream: "Ball Point Skin Notes"

{audio}/mp3/files/Butcher the Bar – Ball Point Skin Notes.mp3{/audio}

– Graham Goodwin
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