These are good times for Glasgow’s Christopher (C) Duncan with A list status achieved on respected station BBC 6 and now his first album about to be released. The man doesn’t disappoint on that score either with a truly original set of songs which combine folk, choral music and dream pop.
‘Architect’ is introduced by ‘Say’, with vocals which are both soothing, gentle and yet slightly eerie. The chorus is simply heavenly, consistently of lighter than air harmonies, not unlike an alt-folk Scritti Politti but really that only tells not even half of the story. A full-bodied title track heads skyward. The arrangement is reminiscent of retro-futurist revivalists such as My Autumn Empire and The Superimposers; given more magic by Duncan’s spiritual presence. The filmic, ambient-flavoured ‘Silence And Air’, the slightly unsettling couplet of ‘New Water’ and ‘Novices’ and a luscious ‘He Believes In Miracles’ are all paradigms of modern, psychedelic folk.
‘For’ really is like discovering a lost treasure from the late 1960’s; its delightful chorus, blessed with whistling and hypnotic vocal melodies are as beguiling a moment as there is to hear this year. In a rare break from the chilled reverie, ‘Garden’ signals a change in pace; Duncan racing through the song with a new found drive and yet the melody still recalls Cream’s ‘I Feel Free’, whilst ‘By’ possess a rich organ-led momentum. He even pulls off the trick of a genuinely touching lullaby on ‘I’ll Be Gone By Winter’ and it’s a real comfy jumper moment.
The word ethereal tends to get overused but the description is a perfect fit for Duncan’s beautifully tender vocals and expertise with arrangements. ‘Architect’ is a definite contender for album of the year.
My Autumn Empire,The Superimposers, Goldfrapp, Renfro