A Songmakers Tale is the kind of album that you really want to enjoy, as Nottingham based Andy Whittle makes some pretty tunes on this, his second effort. There’s the Dylanesque Ten Thousand Miles and the gorgeously introspective The Last One, and it becomes clear that when Whittle is pretty much left to his own devices (vocals and guitar or vocals and piano) he truly shines.
As he sings ‘Oh the clubs are closed in this dirty town/I’m so drunk it hurts and I’m feeling down’ on stand out track Broken Glass, you can’t help but feel like you’re right there with him.
But the album suffers when one of two things occur; Whittle’s band get too involved and over complicate the songs or worse, Whittle himself gets lost in his own notion of what a songwriter should sound like and naff songs are the result. Paper Cups seems to go on forever, opener Safety Shots is boring and messy, and other tunes like Come The Morning or Friendly Fire seem laboured and pretentious.
There is salvation at the album’s close however – Angels Dressed In Black shows how good Andy Whittle could be if he just kept it simple.