Album Review: Simon Waldram – Insolation

I’ve never met Simon Waldram in person, but when I came across his music on the now-defunct music community, it was refreshing to find a younger artist from Nottinghamshire, UK that felt more kinship to Nick Drake and Syd Barrett than more contemporary artists. Around that 2001-2004, it felt like many musicians had forgotten that music prior to 1990 existed and were too busy picking from the carcasses of post-punk/post-grunge to regurgitate what we had spent the last 15 years listening.

In short, music was boring then, and it was refreshing to hear a kid that found something on his own that resonated with himself. He was raw, but inspired and original. Also, he’s one of those weirdo left-handed guitarists – what a freak.

A few weeks ago, I spotted a tweet from Simon looking for people to review his new release, Insolation. So I reached out and I knew he would never be able to turn down my vast readership of 4 or 5 people.

Insolation is a sprawling mix of 20 tracks that harken comparisons to introspective parts of Joseph Arthur and the more jangly psychedelia moments of Brian Jonestown Massacre. Although rockers like “Alone in Berlin” and “Inside Out” feel honest, I feel as though Simon’s true pocket lies more with expansive songs with space for the notes between to spell the story out for the listener.

The more drone-y songs like Car Glass Window, Nebula, Barely Even Here (which for me had the best guitar playing on Insolation), and Stuck on a Cloud. I found Dandelion with it’s lilting flute and simple lyrics felt familiar, but new. The only track that was a miss for me was Resenah. Other standouts for myself were The Room Overlooking the Park – K’s haunting spoken word over a simple, barely overdriven notes served as a dirge or perhaps a revelation of something terrible. I felt the lo-fi tracks, Lost in the City and En Un Coche really worked well. En Un Coche’s Three Imaginary Boys-era jangliness of The Cure on top of a pawn shop drum machine. The heavy Roger Waters fueled 3am brings the release to a close to an end. The listener gets one last tasty minuet Nebula (reprise).

Insolation connects with the right listener, and even extends out to some other types of musical ears. I miss listening to a lot of my friends’ latest creations, and I’m glad to hear Simon is still creating some compelling music across the pond. You can purchase Insolation from Simon’s Bandcamp page.

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