Review: Raymond Scott Woolson – Broken Things Mended … Awake In The Waiting Fields

I was first introduced to the music of Raymond Scott Woolson through his 2005 compilation ‘Accidental Grace Notes’. Like M83, Woolson is a great lover of dreampop AKA the wall of sound or even “shoegaze soundscapes” as his label describes it. So if its skyscraping guitar-led escapism you’re after, ‘Broken Things Mended’ fulfils that need.

‘Broken Things Mended’ is noteworthy for its fantastically-titled tracks which summon up all kinds of images of artists from the heyday of the 4AD Record Label. Fulfilling its promise, ‘Future Self-Portraits’ is a sugar rush of an opener whilst ‘The Vision Maker’ balances ambient music with the sounds of thunder; brilliantly it sounds like a lost insrumental from mid-80s period Cocteau Twins. Better still, ‘Bring Your Whirlwinds With You’ shows an understanding of the intricate guitar work and euphoria The Workhouse conjured up.

On a near seventy minute album though, there’s a fair amount of aural nothingness. ‘When I Am Lifted Up’ is warm and gentle  but ‘Awake O Sleeper In Your Waiting Fields’ drifts along, hook-free for seven unremarkable minutes. This leads to a brief lull in the record as Woolson seems to be treading all too familiar ground but the album regains its edge when ‘The Kite Flyers’ Reunion’ enters the fray with its windswept waves of gorgeousness. It’s then left to ‘White Founts Falling In The Courts Of The Sun’ to generate just the right level of melancholy and melodrama to end the record.

Occasionally Woolson comes across as a tired pastiche act but at his best he absolutely nails it; bringing shoegaze fans to their knees with a killer key change. With a new release to follow later in the year, fans will wait with bated breath for the next set of fabulously-named instrumental tunes.

Web Sites:
Raymond Scott Woolson Official Site

Further Listening:
The Workhouse, M83, Cocteau Twins

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