Friday, 14 August 2009

Album review: Paul Mosley, The Ventriloquist

What do you do if Florence steals your harp player for her infernal Machine? The answer for Hartlepool-born singer Paul Mosley was to grab a ukulele and make a new album. A commendable course of action, even with the tinges of jealousy and bitterness lurking in the lyrics his new CD, The Ventriloquist. “Did you see Tom on TV?/Did you think he should be up there with me?” he sings on This Way For Fun.

In keeping with the album’s title, Mosley throws his elastic voice around an emotional assault course furnished with ukulele-powered psychodramas, inventive tunes and instrumental surprises.

Mosley’s new-found ukulele skills bring a jaunty feel to several of the songs, laced with meandering oboe, flute, concertina, whistling, piano and synth sounds. It’s a beguiling, seductive mix, with the shifting musical moods all haunted by the ghosts of failed relationships.

The title track, a lament of lost love, has a wistful vaudeville feel, while Lunatics peps it up with an upbeat reggae chug and “Ooh la la las” borrowed from Cockney Rebel’s Come Up And See Me. Other notable high spots are the spooky and funky Night Train, modern-day sea shanty Rolling Home and the menacing and exhilarating I Am The Flood.

With nods in the direction of Four Tet, Andrew Bird, Aidan Smith and The Leisure Society, Paul Mosley has certainly shown with this album that he’s no dummy.

(Putlog records, 2009; PUT 311)