Mainly Genius

Review: Alex Cornish – Call Back

So, the holidays are over, the kids are back at school and the weather is closing in. This can only mean one thing for you lovely blog-botherers, and that is the return of Mainly Genius.

First, an(other) apology. Whilst I had intended to take a break over the summer months, I admit that I did it rather abruptly and without prior warning. This, coupled with the fact that my Lyrics of the Week section hasn’t been updated for over 13 weeks now, makes for a rather neglected blog. Anyway, let us not delay the return any longer and restart with something of an exclusive for this, the pokiest of music blogs.

Out at the end of this month (27th September) is the second album from Scotland-based singer-songwriter Alex Cornish. Having been in possession of the album – entitled Call Back – for a while now I thought I had better make good on my promise to review the album and, having appropriated, digested and appraised it, I’m happy to report that it’s been well worth the wait.

This album’s predecessor – Until the Traffic Stops – was a generally positive affair that featured some obvious standout tracks but lacked a certain something so bring it up to the next level. Whilst the DIY feel of the album was well executed, it still sounded homemade. Call Back however, is a different matter. Regardless of where it’s origins lie (the answer being both at home and in the Watercolour Studios in the Highlands of Scotland), the DIY sound in this album improves it and has clearly allowed Cornish the freedom and creativity that might not have been there in a big London studio.

The album begins with it’s title track and we are immediately opened up to the emotion and raw sound that Cornish produces. It’s a short, almost acoustic track that sounds like it’s at the wrong end of the album – such is it’s sadness – but is actually a very clever way of pre-empting the rest of the record and immediately sets the scene for which the rest builds back up to.

Lead single Once More I’m Put To The Test and lead-single-sounding Don’t Hold Me Back are both catchy and well-crafted songs and are much more interesting than they have any right be considering they’re essentially chords on an acoustic guitar.

Mid-point Like John Lennon Said has the brightest lyrics on the record and is a more regretful sister of the title track, whilst The Shame is another standout track that has single written all over it and really shows what the genre of ‘singer-songwriter’ should be about (and blowing plenty of other more popular artists out of the water at the same time).

Overall this album doesn’t re-invent the wheel, but that’s not what it sets out to do or needs to do. It picks up where Until The Traffic Stops left off and builds on the groundwork laid by that album over a year ago to great effect. Songs such as Like John Lennon Said, The Shame and the title track ensure that this isn’t just your normal singer-songwriter fare, and the emotion and soul in Cornish’s voice almost force you to believe in what he says.

Whilst this market might be oversaturated at the moment, Call Back stands out from the crowd and should ensure that Alex Cornish and the music he creates continues to make waves in both the folk and mainstream genres. A diamond in the rough well worth the asking price.

Visit Alex’s official website or listen on MySpace.

Download the album on iTunes or pre-order the compact disc from Amazon.

Because I’m so indecisive and because I like the album so much, below are three tracks for your listening pleasure. Like John Lennon Said and The Shame* are both available for download for your further appraisal and stream-only (but no less brilliant) are the title track Call Back* and first-album highlight King of Hearts.

* Due to the recent upsurge of American interest in The Shame, it now seems slightly wrong of me to have it available for free here, when it’s only a few pennies/cents on iTunes.

However, I have almost totally contradicted that previous sentence and made the equally brilliant Call Back available in its place.

Alex Cornish – Like John Lennon Said

Alex Cornish – The Shame

Alex Cornish – Call Back

Alex Cornish – King of Hearts (taken from Until the Traffic Stops)


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[…] 4. Alex Cornish – Call Back (Released 27th September, Read the Full Review here) […]

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[…] and that is the return […]

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[…] like it’s predecessor Call Back (full review here), the majority of the recording of this album took place in Cornish’s living room in the far […]

Pingback by Review: Alex Cornish – No Shore « Mainly Genius

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