When it comes to folk music, I must admit I’m a bit of a dabbler rather than a true fan. Beyond the obligatory Nick Drake CD reissues, there’s little representation for the genre but occasionally – as is the case with Declan O’Rourke and now Conrad Vingoe – I make exceptions. Not unlike many of his contemporaries, Vingoe makes folk pop songs with occasional nods to rock but he has such a great ear for melody and a beautiful warm voice, that I find ‘Spare Buttons And Bones’ hard to resist.
I was enchanted immediately by ‘Burn Down Love’, where Vingoe is joined by the subtle tones of Kate Walsh to deliver some lovely harmonies. ‘Great White Hope’ sees the combination of Vingoe’s soothing voice, strings and strummed guitars at its peak whilst ‘Vapour Trail’ is just perfect thanks to its luscious spine-tingling chorus. Proving that he’s no one-trick pony, ‘Black Spot In The Sun’ is rattled off at frenetic pace and ‘Boy Morning World’ sees Vingoe straining the throat to be heard above some shoegaze atmopsherics. Right to the end quality control is maintained and the soaring ‘Last Call’ is arguably the best performance in front of the mic from this Brighton-based musician.
Undoubtedly, Vingoe is infuenced by Nick Drake but his songs have a much sunnier outlook so that even the more melancholic material is impossible to listen to without feeling contented. All told, this is definitely another addition to my admittedly limited “Great Folk Albums” list.
Nick Drake, Declan O’Rourke