Quiet Man Review

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Quiet Man Review

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https://flic.kr/p/jgU3o2

https://flic.kr/p/jgU3o2

Mia Tocas, Head Writer

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Since releasing his debut album Little Giant in 2014, Roo Panes has become one of the most iconic artists in the UK folk scene. Within the past five years, he has gained over 180 million Spotify streams (and counting). On June 15th, 2018, he released his third album Quiet Man produced by Chris Bond. Bond also produced Ben Howard’s latest album and is very well known in the acoustic indie world.

The album opens with “A Message to Myself,” a soft, dreamy track with melancholic vocals and echoes topped with a delicate piano and violin melody. The instrumentation sets the perfect moment for Roo Panes to show off the huskiness in his crisp voice. It is evident that he has excellent control of his voice as he hits every single high note without hesitation. Panes is perhaps best at layering instruments to reflect the mood in his lyrics. “A Message to Myself,” shows this as he sings the chorus, “If I’d heard every word, If I’d read every line upon the shelf, I’d still need a message to myself.” During his last few words, orchestral stings in the background increase in volume, resulting in an early morning folk vibe.

The most noteworthy thing about this album, is the fact that it feels as if mother nature herself wrote the track-list. Every song makes listeners feel immersed in the wilderness, whether it’s the rain-drop piano notes, tribal drumbeats, or the pitter-patter of finger-style guitar, each tune conveys an earthy tone. “A Year in a Garden,” may be the best example of this. It contrasts its powerful driving melody with a wide range of vocals. Eventually, it builds into a spectacular upbeat chorus as he sings of a lost loved one and holding on to the thought of being together again someday.

Those themes of commitment, persistence, and loyalty appear repeatedly on this album. The eighth song in the track-listing, “A Gift to You,” is about a lover who stood by Panes side, through thick and thin. The quivering strings reflect the uncertainty and doubt that are hidden within Pane’s shaky vocals. The lyrics also convey Pane’s belief in staying true to yourself. Meanwhile, a bold organ intro is watered down by timid, subdued piano. The lyrics, “You didn’t have to but you did, I couldn’t reach it but you could, You only asked me to do good, You’ve endured me and withstood,” perfectly capture the message of the song.

The album draws to a close on the twelfth song, “Peace be with You.” This song is low-key and captures the timbre of Panes’ vocals and his Americana-style guitar playing. The accompanying vocals give the song an angelic tone, resulting in a calm, serene way to end his third album.

All in All, Quiet Man is an intimate and uplifting album and demonstrates why Panes is one of the biggest independent folk artists in the UK. The intricate instrumentation and lush, full vocals showcase Roo Pane’s abilities as a songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist. There’s a rich element of freedom and adventure seeped into each song, making the album perfect for lazy summer days or road trips down the coast.