'Say’ from Andrew Wiltshire - an album that improves each time you hear it(August 12, 2014)
This one moves with assured footsteps among touches of brilliance and uniqueness – yet there are moments of overload, which cause confusion. The overall impression is a selection of narratives pulled together by a single voice that holds your attention, then some of them are bolted to needless musical layers that sometimes interfere. ‘Say’ from singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Wiltshire is an album that improves each time you hear it but it could so easily have hit the spot from the outset.
There are two levels to these songs - the essential song itself, which is strong and then unfortunately, volumes of instrumentation that wash over. From time to time, this level of over-production makes you want to call out ‘Enough, it’s good where it is, stop adding layers’. An unplugged or ‘stripped back’ version would definitely be worth hearing. The opener ‘It’s Okay’ has a singularly direct and personal narrative overawed by instrumentation and backing vocals. There’s a strong feel to ‘The Ride’ with its going with the flow message and the emotive ‘Love For A Reason’ – both less swamped. Then comes ‘Aggrandisement’ and the emphasis on weighty production returns, with the fine edges of feeling in ‘Fell Down’ and ‘Love Song’ almost blunted. The closer ‘Infinitely’, so almost makes it it’s frustrating - a song that really doesn’t need all the ornamentation.
The more you listen, the more ‘Say’ grows on you. All you have to do is get past the ‘too much’ feeling to discover the songs within the songs, and you have an engaging album. One final point – printing the lyrics in 4 point on the album cover might be fashionably minimalist but it makes them damned difficult to read for those of us with less than perfect vision.
Reviewer: Charlie Elland