The latest addition to the burgeoning ranks of Sheffield's resurgent music scene, Mark Stoney combines streetwise lyrical observations akin to the Arctic Monkeys' ("You saw the red mist/ You were horny and pissed") with a more complex musical approach that prompts comparisons with several generations of UK legends. The results refuse to be corralled by genre on an album where folksy guitar ballads rub shoulders with heavy blues-rock. One moment the gifted lone operator affects the kind of trenchant rock-riff panache associated with the younger Bowie, the next he's rattling off urban nightlife images with the droll elegance of The Kinks, observing how, "Everything runs like clockwork/ It all hangs out when you stop work". Playing virtually everything himself, Stoney+ creates arrangements whose depth and quirky complexity recalls Beck's earlier work, if Beck had been into 1970s psychedelia rather than hip-hop and folk-blues. The single "Soap in a Bathtub" is typically entertaining, with its stealthy verses stomped on by ELO-sized choruses - just one of a myriad idiosyncratic sonic strategies pursued successfully here.
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