Monday, 11 June 2012

Album review: Before the Storm by Jack Savoretti

Jack Savoretti's new album is Before the Storm. Picture: Claire Nathan
How is it that I'd never heard anything by Jack Savoretti before listening to his new album Before the Storm?

Savoretti plays exactly the kind of music I like best - plenty of heartbreak, lots of guitars and piano, and lyrics that are poetry.

Before the Storm is a mix of styles, with Savoretti segueing effortlessly between folk, country, classic pop and rock, sometimes using more than one genre in just one song.

The second track on the album, Take Me Home, has a great guitar riff and highlights Savoretti's husky voice, which has that quality you can't quite put your finger on but that just makes you believe every word he's singing.

Take Me Home is a song to make you melt, with its pleading chorus: "Take me home with you tonight/I'm not going to make it down this lonely street/Take me home with you tonight/I'm not going to make it on my own."

It's a toss up between the upbeat The Proposal and the mournful final track For the Last Time as to which is my favourite song on the album.

The Proposal is hopeful despite its metaphor of building a bridge and watching it burn, and it also contains my favourite lyrics on the album: "Living in your absence/I see memories when I cry/I hear songs in the key of silence/I'm not ready yet to die."

But then there's For the Last Time, a song which just makes me feel every emotion Savoretti is singing about - heartbreak and grief and resignation and determination. It's beautifully crafted and the perfect piece of grown up angst.

Knock Knock is a fun track, which with its lyrics and its rhythms conjures up images of old-style saloons from those westerns that tend to be on television on long Sunday afternoons.

It's not just Knock Knock which shows Savoretti is good at forming pictures with his lyrics. Vagabond, with its poetic chorus - "the life of a vagabond/searching for a fool's gold/with the eyes of a gypsy/and the life of a rebel soul..." - makes me think of the endless road Savoretti sings about.

Before the Storm is really one long love song with all its ups and downs, but despite tracks like the aforementioned Take Me Home and album opener Not Worthy ("I'm not worthy of your love/I'm barely keeping up), Savoretti sounds far from desperate on Before the Storm. Rather, he comes across as a brutally honest songwriter, unafraid to expose his deepest emotions. It's an attractive quality and the one which makes Before the Storm such a good album.

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