Laurie Shaw - The Great Southern (Album Review)

Liverpudlian-cum-Kerry man Laurie Shaw is a hard artist to keep up with. By the time you've got around to listening to his new album, another one has been released. Ostensibly his seventeenth solo album (his Breaking Tunes page claims over eighty albums have been created across various projects) The Great Southern finds the writer '" aimlessly hanging around car boot sales" (Bargain Hunt) and ''deep in the water all Saturn return'' (Long Mirror) while entertaining the listener with a wide sonic palette that is based around a confidently explorative indie rock, sometimes cabaret, style. 

Snow Day sees a joyously simple riff take over the laid-back vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, and descriptive lyrics ('children's hands in the concrete that borders the green'), and is this listener's album highlight. Who Are These People is a beautifully sad observation of the human condition, with Shaw firing off self-deprecating cynicism ("Imagine not making a record for half a year, and not feeling crushing guilt") over a decidedly airy piano. As with most solo recording projects, Shaw's work is often under-edited, both to its virtue and its detriment. There are times where the strongly characterised vocals and thesaurus-like lyrics come on a bit too strong (Gorse Fire, A Pint of Milk); yet one can't exactly fault this, it is what it is (art innit?). Unbridled creativity helps this album about a time-traveling detective seem somewhat straightforward and inspires a sense of curiosity in the listener. Half album, half audiobook, The Great Southern is an impressive and rich listen. 


Laurie Shaw - The Great Southern (Album Review)
Reviewed by Jay Honeycomb on February 26th 2022
Rating: 4