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Review: 'Russo, Rafa'
'This Strange Place'   

-  Label: 'Scratchy Records'
-  Genre: 'Folk' -  Release Date: '28th June 2019'

Our Rating:
‘Troubadour’ is one of those terms that’s thrown about quite liberally, and has, to my mind, come to possess some quite tosserish connotations of a certain sense of flamboyance and overblown lyricism that’s more thespian artifice than credible art.

There are always exceptions, however. Rafa Russo is something of a polyartist, his work spanning singer, songwriter, screenwriter and director, and while he’s no ‘wandering minstrel’, he is well-travelled, having ventured from his native Madrid and back via the folk clubs of New York and London. There is, unquestionably, something of the troubadour about him.

Russo’s brand of folk is predominantly centred around softly-picked acoustic guitar and voice, with subtle bass and percussion filling out the sound without being obtrusive. There’s a wistful, ponderous, reflective quality to his songs, as well as a sense of emotional depth to the poetical lyrics. But this isn’t flighty or angsty emotion, bur balanced, as an artist who began his musical career back in the early 80s and released his first album in 1990, it’s apparent that these are songs informed by life experience.

‘Throwaway Days’ has hints of Fleetwood Mac and finds Rafa really going to the max for a full band sound, while in contrast, ‘Summertime’, with its understated piano work and dreamy hues calls to mind the introspection of REM.

‘This Strange Place’ is a rounded album that’s easy on the ear, but by no means bland.
  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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