Pavey Ark is a new name to us. We have a listen to their debut album, Close Your Eyes And Think Of Nothing
Release Date: 20th March 2020
Formats: DL / CD / vinyl
Hailing from Hull, they’re an alt folk-rock outfit built around the singer-songwriting talents of Neil Thomas. Neil himself has, apparently, already established quite a reputation on the Yorkshire folk circuit and, on the evidence of the songs on this album, it’s easy to understand why.
Pavey Ark has an interesting line-up. The guitars of Neil Thomas and John Hamilton and the always subtle drums of Sam Handley are overlaid by a substantial string section comprising Alex Simpson and Chris Heron on violins, Paula Bowes on viola and Beth Nicholson on cello. The net result is an album of tastefully picked mainly (but not always) acoustic guitars with generous servings of strings to build a mellow feel that pervades throughout.
The band claim influences from Nick Drake, Radiohead, The Walkmen and Rodriguez, with nods also towards Michael Chapman and Aldous Harding. In truth, some of these ‘influences’ are more evident than others and the sound and song content is very much the band’s own.
Close Your Eyes And Think Of Nothing is the band’s debut album and it’s a solid start. The acoustic guitar/strings combination is very much the theme in most of the songs and it’s a sound that has certainly aroused my interest. I feel that the band has discovered an avenue that is worthy of far deeper exploration and several songs, notably Wallflower, Cuckoo, Hidden Hills and Breaking Out hint at the potential lurking just beneath the surface.
Cuckoo and Hidden Hills are notable for John Hamilton’s electric guitar contributions and both songs include tasteful, enjoyable solos that fit well within the overall feel of the album.
Currently, the band are very dependent upon Neil Thomas to supply the vocal contribution. Neil’s voice is pleasant enough, although his tendency to slur the lyrics (a la Michael Chapman perhaps?) doesn’t always benefit the finished product. When he does sing clearly, for instance on Breaking Out and on the CD bonus track Consider Your Hand, the overall effect is a whole lot better and the backing harmonies, used only sparingly on this album, also add warmth.
Pavey Ark are starting to make a few highly noticeable waves. Close Your Eyes And Think Of Nothing is an interesting taster of the band and an indicator of what they are capable of. This is a band to watch.
Listen to the title track from the album here: