Jack Robert Hardman: Plymouth

Plymouth cover

My opinion of Plymouth is pretty grim; visits there are to be endured, rather than enjoyed, and when called upon to make the trip 'up north', I'm always filled with dread when the train crosses the Tamar and approaches Plymouth station. Who knows what I may end up sitting next to... I jest (partly), but Plymouth is the closest my beloved South West has to a gritty urban centre, and all the people there seem northern and scary. Jack Robert Hardman, however, has managed to retain the romantic, evocative air of adventurous potential that the city once commanded. I've always had a soft spot the slightly archaic, majestic nature of our nation's maritime heritage, and Jack's wistful, almost elegiac single, Plymouth, captures everything that excites me about living on the edge of an ocean.

If you need a trite pop-comparison to get into Jack's music, then I'd say he sounds a little like what would happen if the Postal Service had spent far too long listening to the most recent Bon Iver album. There's a lot more going on here than a simple mixing of influences, though, and while the production paints it's own picture (lush and sparse in equal measure) one is stuck most of all by the personality that pervades every inch of this record. There's a thoughtful, subtle intelligence at work behind this music, and while the mood is slow and contemplative it never rambles, and the track feels like it ends too soon (always a good sign, in my book).

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