Review: A Dancing Beggar – How They Grow

A Dancing Beggar is the chosen moniker for twenty one year-old Brighton student James Simmons who handily describes his music as “post rock with a little bit of shoegaze”.  ‘How They Grow’ is his first release and this EP certainly wears its influences on its sleeve but is very enjoyable nonetheless.

The title track is full of jangly effects as if Vini Reilly had decided to permanently relocate to a flower garden; the simple, uncomplicated arrangement means that it avoids the usual shoegazing comparisons though. Likewise, ‘We Could Be Anywhere’ reminded me of Epic45’s delicate guitar patterns until it built up into something heavier and headed disappointingly for some rather predictable post-rock territory. ‘Storm At The Undercliff’ sounded instantly familiar yet I couldn’t place it.  ‘If These Walls Could Talk’ experiments with melodic structure and is the time when Simmons begins to define his own niche and – by the time ‘I’ve Washed My Hands Of This’ has built towards its towering finale – a brief but enjoyable journey was complete.

There’s nothing particularly original about ‘How They Grow’. Whereas close comparisons Epic45 evoke a time and a place, A Dancing Beggar merely evokes lazy, summer days. Still, there’s no crime in that and considering Simmons’ career is in its infancy, this is a very accomplished start. He clearly has the gift for melody but the next stage will be to make his own distinctive mark on the genre.

Web Sites:
A Dancing Beggar MySpace

Further Listening:
The Workhouse, Epic45, Raymond Scott Woolson


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