Fireworks

Paul J Riley - 'Alba Place' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/2e/e7/1b/2346_pauljrileyalbaplace_1339781086.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 15, 2012    
 
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Has the power to captivate in a gentle, unthreatening manner.

Time spent designing plastic spoons and key rings for fashion designer Vivienne Westwood may not sound like the most obvious grounding for a songwriter, but in the case of Paul J Riley, it certainly proves that this is one man capable of turning his hand to a variety of creative endeavours with impressive results.

Whittled down from an initial 30 demos Riley recorded for this album (he had a rather amazing 70 songs from 20 years worth of writing to choose to demo!), ‘Alba Place’ is a beguiling collection of Soft Rock in the vein of Al Stewart and with touches of Neil Young and Paul Simon. For many reading this magazine that will sound just a little (or a lot) too mainstream, or easy-going; however in truth this is an album that offers a welcome change of pace without drifting into chart-pap, or saccharine sweet melancholy, instead being full of understated songs that seduce through straight forward, if tight arrangements and strong musicianship. What raises things however is the effortless, Al Stewart like vocal from Riley, which adds a real air of storytelling to these personal and heartfelt lyrics.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Acoustic guitar courtesy of Chris Eaton and of course Riley’s voice drive most of the songs to their melodic conclusions, although the keyboard playing of Paddy Milner drifts into and out of sight, offering little splashes of colour, sometimes joyous and sometimes heart breaking, but never for the sake of it. However it is the comfortable, confident nature of the performances from all of the musicians involved in ‘Alba Place’ which really makes it into an album that has the power to captivate in a gentle, unthreatening manner. Hopefully it won’t be a further twenty years until we get another CD of stories from Paul J Riley.

Steven Reid

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