Mainly Genius


Review: Alex Cornish – No Shore
September 4, 2011, 12:18 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , ,

Apparently, there is a saying that nice guys finish last. If that’s the case then Alex Cornish is in trouble.  As hard working and amicable as they come, Cornish has released his 3rd album little over a year after it’s predecessor Call Back arrived to much and deserved praise, and what a cracker it is.

Luckily, there’s nothing to say that nice guys aren’t destined to produce great albums and in No Shore, Alex Cornish has produced something special. With every album there has been palpable growth and this album continues to build on the success of the past and treads a path towards wider recognition.

Alex-Cornish - No-ShoreWhilst I will say there’s no great shift in genre (this is not Cornish’s Kid A just yet) and that any notions of a rock opera have yet to materialise, this album has the feeling of something about it – a deplorable way to communicate my feelings yes, but Alex Cornish has been ready for a breakthrough for the last 18 months and perhaps this is the album to propel him forward.

Much 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 reaches(ish) of Scotland and, in the greatest sense of the word, No Shore sounds like it. Passion and commitment are here in spades and in the short time it takes to reach Rely, that’s already evident. In tone it’s almost resigned and in musicality it’s excellent – combining confidently brushed drums with surprisingly catchy melody and delicate guitars sets the album well.

Skyline of Paris is a refreshing and uplifting ode to love whilst Open Your Eyes is something of curveball – not only does it feature electric guitar (folk blasphemy?), there’s a slightly twisted hook that sits surprisingly well with the rest of what is actually an extremely accomplished track. It’s little flourishes like these and the attention to detail that is characteristic of the whole record, that help make this so exceedingly enjoyable.

However, No Shore is most comfortable when pulling at heartstrings and ballads are undoubtedly where Cornish’ is really at his best.

Not coincidentally, the two ­standout tracks both happen to be ballads of the highest order. No matter whether it’s the carefully orchestrated, delicate guitars of Breathe Slow or the gradual building of violins in This is the Point, both have first-rate vocal melodies and, when coupled with the emotion and tone behind Cornish’ voice, really make the songs believable and genuine.

Overall, this is another firm step in the right direction. If he wasn’t already, we can safely classify Alex Cornish as a hidden gem amongst what is at the moment a very healthy mine of new music. No Shore has a definite Mercury Prize feel to it and although that particular award seems to be increasingly based on record sales and trendiness, it’s still a highly prized asset for any musician and should represent an artist at the top of his or her game.

I can’t recommend No Shore enough and if you get the opportunity to see Alex Cornish live, I’d strongly urge you to take it. Get this album and say you were there in the beginning – as a once-successful-singer-turned-Christian once sang, The Only Way is Up.

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Buy the album from iTunes, Amazon or HMV

Check tour dates on his Official site

Follow him Twitter, Facebook or YouTube

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Below are my picks from No Shore, from the plucked violins of This is the Point, the folk-jazz like hook in Open Your Eyes or the sheer delicacy of Breathe Slow, they undoubtedly show all that’s best of the album.

Alex Cornish – Breathe Slow

Alex Cornish – Open Your Eyes

Alex Cornish – This is the Point

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[…] 10. Alex Cornish – No Shore (Released 13th June, full review here) […]

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