Luke Ritchie Review
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Luke Ritchie ‘The Water’s Edge’
Luke Ritchie’s bio makes for interesting reading, understandably boasting of the contributors on his debut album ‘The Water’s Edge’; the record was produced by Paul Savage who has worked with bands such as Mogwai and Franz Ferdinand, and Nico Muhly – who has worked with similarly impressive acts like Grizzly Bear and Bjork –composed the arrangements.
It’s hard not to be at least a little intrigued after learning this, and Ritchie does get off to a promising start; first track ‘The Lighthouse’ is surprisingly atmospheric, opening with reverb drenched guitar harmonics and ascending strings, pushing forward Ritchie’s accomplished voice.
Another highlight, ‘Words’, starts off as a stripped down piano and vocal track but ends with Ritchie exploring the limitations of his voice and finding that there isn’t much of a limitation at all (he’s basically just showing off at that point).
And yet, the rest of this review is essentially going to be an over-elaborate ‘It’s ok’.
I can completely understand why people would like this, and there are people I would recommend it to; it’s a very nice and easy set of songs to listen to, the production is excellent and everything is in the right place. However, there is an unfortunately large number of songs which don’t achieve the emotional response Ritchie aims for, and beyond that, such songs are kind of dull.
The worst offender is the album closer ‘Song for Sundays’. It’s not that it’s a bad song, it’s just that within the context of an album that’s already exhausted mid-tempo melancholy the song just doesn’t seem to really contribute anything.
Don’t get me wrong this is definitely an enjoyable album, but there isn’t much there that would make me particularly want to go back and revisit it. As good as Ritchie’s voice is, he’s not really unique or affecting enough for me to single him out as one of the better singer/songwriters in folk music.
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