Opening track Juniper Berries takes three minutes to get going, and when I say going what I mean is lo-fi guitar finger picking that is the aural equivalent of wandering down a country lane letting your attention be taken by literally everything. Cracked and wrong notes pop up but it’s clearly part of the plan. I enjoy everything right up until the moment he starts singing. Now before you discard Dawson for his singing let me explain. Over the years I have been enamoured of many bands and artists while listening to them in some record shop, only to have my interest die because of some perceived slight against me by a vocalist. I have no idea what I find appealing about a vocal. I like screaming. I love Mike Patton, Bjork and some other vocally divisive people. I can’t put my finger on what I don’t like but Richard Dawson has it. However, I would be stupid to discard this as an album just on that basis because it’s clearly very good. What we have, Ladies and Gentleman is another Jack Hayter.
If I was a better person I could see through whatever it is I don’t like to fully appreciate the joy of “Wooden Bag”, a lovely song full of his cracked vocals as he describes a super sounding wooden bag. But it’s just too folky for me and I don’t like being reminded that I burned away all the nice parts of my brain listening to Pig Destroyer and Cleric. But if you like thoughtful, well written and meaningful tales sung to you by a genuine voice then this is definitely something for you. Also, I haven’t invented a genre for a while so if we could all consider calling this “glitchcraft” or “glitch folk” that would be great.