Album: Aidan Smith <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Early as the Trees, ANALOGUE CATALOGUE
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The Independent Culture

It's not just the way his presence is announced through a series of mini-albums (the seven-track Early as the Trees is his third, after two volumes of At Home with Aidan Smith) that has secured this songwriter comparisons with his fellow Mancunian Badly Drawn Boy. There are undeniable similarities in his ramshackle musical style, incorporating playful piano and organ figures, rippling mandolin, rattling typewriter noises, the whine of a dentist's drill and the occasional comical twang of Jew's harp alongside Smith's guitar-picking; and in the whimsical lyrical conceits on tracks such as "Alone, Askew" and "Rooster", where a faltering relationship is sketched in observations such as "I feel cold, alone, when I reach your answerphone" and "Your Sunday-morning face is beyond the human race". Elsewhere, the lo-fi charm of the title track finds him pondering a life that might have been: "I could have shopped at Tiffany's/ Known epiphanies/ Woken early as the trees/ I could have lived on diamond rings/ Bought the finer things/ Had a voice that really sings". Smith's self-deprecation is rooted in the way he tests the upper limit of his register as he sings about things such as the "jaded sky" of winter ("Eclipse Song"), solitude ("Alone, Askew"), and "Writers Block". It's not hard to imagine him becoming a household-name eccentric.

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