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Ghostpoet - Shedding Skin (Album Review)

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 Written by Huw Baines

‘Shedding Skin’ is a provocative title. In the hands of Ghostpoet, it’s a perfect fit. He hasn’t torn the page from his notebook and started over, but album three represents a subtle, ever-shifting reimagination of his sound. The drawled verses remain, along with the low-light atmospherics, but this is a record that picks up on Obaro Ejimiwe’s emergence as a fascinating live performer.

Recorded alongside his touring band, ‘Shedding Skin’ possesses a warmth that wasn’t part of the equation on ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’ or ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’. His laconic delivery is bolstered by a string of guest vocalists, with Nadine Shah providing weathered soul on a couple of songs and Lucy Rose lighting up the standout Sorry My Love, It’s You Not Me.

The pace throughout barely rises above sedate, with Ejimiwe instead spinning together songs that segue with minimal disruption to the record’s finely-balanced ambience.

He traces unravelling relationships, the day-to-day, grey existence of post-crash work and palpitation-inducing romantic mishaps with the same measured hand, embellishing each stroke with sharp imagery and hinting at understanding rather than a one-way dialogue.

“I’m tired of insufficient funds,” Ejimiwe lamented on I Just Don’t Know, from his debut. While his circumstances have changed since then - no more call centre work, for starters - his words here retain that ring of truth. He understands not only the ups and downs and entanglements of relationships, but also the minutiae of living one day to the next.

The second half of the record is more pointed, its instrumentation more paranoid. Here we see flashes of the bleak edge that characterised ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’, as greed enters the frame on Better Not Butter and things spiral amid The Pleasure In Pleather’s electric guitars: “I’m seemingly a paycheck away from losing it all.”

Some will miss the electronics, but many will embrace the comfort to be found in the fact that the more Ghostpoet has changed, the more he’s stayed the same. The presentation is different, the songs remain emotive, unflinching and, at the end of it all, uplifting.

Ghostpoet Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed April 01 2015 - DUBLIN Button Factory
Thu April 02 2015 - EDINBURGH Electric Circus
Fri April 03 2015 - LIVERPOOL Kazimier
Sat April 04 2015 - LEEDS Belgrave Music Hall
Sun April 05 2015 - BRISTOL Exchange
Mon April 06 2015 - BRIGHTON Komedia
Wed April 08 2015 - BIRMINGHAM Hare & Hounds.
Thu April 09 2015 - LONDON Electric Brixton

Click here to compare & buy Ghostpoet Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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