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Neil Cousin – Bonfire

Released 5th November 2011 on Olibug

Reviewed by Francesca Baker

The fourth album from Neil Cousin as a solo artist, Bonfire is the first to feature ‘a band’, with dense strings, varied piano laments and propulsive drums all contributed by friends and artists discovered on the way, in true bohemian style. The timing of the release, and possibly its name, means that an automatic ‘nu-folk’ label will be slapped upon it, but Bonfire is more raw and resonant than many in this gang. Pub Singer is an upbeat tale of a less than salubrious figure, Semaphore Haiku combines gentle guitar plucking with ardent yet never overwrought lyrics, and the tormented temper of title track Bonfire lingers on long after its closing notes. Striking is the reminder of The Libertines, sensitive and stark tracks Dead Chris and Carpathian Mountain March in particular having the troubled lilting pace of Music When The Lights Go Out and grazingly embracing vocal style of Carl Barat. A personal and powerful album that emotes the smokey smell, intense colours and yearning feeling of the autumnal, Bonfire is a welcome addition to cold evenings.

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