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Ben Watt Album Reviews 4out of 5
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North Marine Drive

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The story of Everything But The Girl has been well documented: a Hull duo find a common interest in melancholic folk, latterly reinventing themselves as a cutting edge dance/drum and bass act. Yet before all this Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt recorded their own solo albums for the Cherry Red label. Watt took a back seat on vocal duties on his EBTG work but here he demonstrates that his own frail timbre is perfectly suited to the laments of 'North Marine Drive'. The mood is earnest - but never overwrought - ranging from evocative location-driven pieces ('On Box Hill', the title track) to the embittered self-loathing of 'Waiting Like Mad'. The simplicity and clarity of the arrangements (generally just Ben and his guitar) means that the songs haven't aged a jot. There's also the generous addition of the 'Summer Into Winter' collaboration with Robert Wyatt, conjuring up rainy day atmospheres with filigree guitars and piano patterns to the fore. For fans of modern artists favouring the "less is more" approach, this is a must hear.
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  Track Listing
01 On Box Hill
Standout Track Some Things Don't Matter
03 Lucky One
04 Empty Bottles
05 North Marine Drive
06 Waiting Like Mad
07 Thirst For Knowledge
08 Long Time No See
09 You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
10 Walter And John
11 Aquamarine
12 Slipping Slowly
13 Another Conversation With Myself
14 A Girl In Winter

Standout Track = Standout Track

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Also Recommended:
At Swim Two Birds - Quigley's Point, Returning To The Scene Of The Crime
Drake, Nick - Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter, Pink Moon
Kings Of Convenience - Quiet Is The New Loud, Riot On An Empty Street
Montgolfier Brothers, The - Journey's End, All My Bad Thoughts
Thorn, Tracey - A Distant Shore
Wyatt, Robert - EPs, Rock Bottom, Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard
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