Review:'Kelly, Shaun, and the Returned Gifts' 'The Boy on the Bench'
- Genre: 'Indie'
- Release Date: '16th March 2018'- Catalogue No: 'Sleep Now Records'
It’s a pretty drab album title, that connotes either a substitute on a football team (bitterly, this pretty much summarises my career as an U18s district league team player for my village team. Perversely, the one time I was in the starting lineup, I got moved from defence to midfield and scored twice in a 7-2 win, and then spent the rest of the season being brought on in defence in the last 5 minutes. Anyway. I’m also conjuring images of waiting for trains and homelessness. The cover art simply suggests the classic singer/songwriter, with Kelly looking ponderous.
I fully expected to hate this, but it turns out the cover art sells Shaun spectacularly short. ‘The Boy on the Bench’ is a wide-ranging and accomplished album that packs a fair few decent tunes. There’s a certain charm to Kelly’s varied musical approach, which spans choppy guitars and buoyant acoustic strums and a whole lot more between, including elements as disparate as electronica and country and folk.
‘Let’s Go to Rome’ is an ambitious, almost proggy effort but with a sequenced drum that brings another dimension, and elsewhere, as on ‘Stigmata’, Kelly brings some real zeal, not to mention range to the scene. The album’s last track, the eight-minute, piano-led heartstring-tugger that is ‘Flexidisc’, offers another side of an admirably versatile musician, who showcases an eclectic and compelling range here. It may be a gift you’d prefer to keep.