Some albums beg for an intimate listen, whether it’s for enjoying their comforts, absorbing their intricate details or revelling in their sheer terror; in the rarest cases, all three. Others, however, feel like they lose something when heard this way, and Ben Marwood’s Get Found might be one of them: a work somewhat out of place without the clink of pint glasses or the chatter of a shopping centre behind it. Taken neat, it’s almost claustrophobic.
Frequently reminiscent of a good pub singer who never relinquished his love for ’90s indie, Marwood’s confessional brand of songwriting often comes across a touch overeager. Whether in the breathless eulogising of Bury Me in the Pantheon or the ever-so-bristling plea to ‘take off your clothes’ at the end of Enraptured, there’s a feeling that, while to know Marwood might be to love him, unfamiliarity with him could leave you a bit indifferent.
Take The Devil Makes Work for Jazz Hands, the final shout for the themes of mortality which run throughout the album. Marwood’s hardly the first to go on about how we’re all going to die – a preoccupation in recent years for everyone from Sufjan Stevens to Scout Niblett – and though there are a number of moments which work quite well here, there’s also a lot which feels like filler, with one too many hasty returns to the bridge or chorus when all else fails.
The song also proves that Get Found benefits whenever its sound is more spread-out; less successful are instances where you’re left alone with just Marwood and his guitar, such as in lead-off tune Punched in the Mouth (Part 1). The slightly too-cute recording of himself as a child that begins this only heightens the sense that there is much here which is highly personal – and the accompanying feeling that a lot of it may have been lost in translation.
But the album is indeed a grower, and there are several worthwhile bits scattered throughout. The choruses in I’m Wide Awake It’s Boring and The Church of No Commandments are eminently hummable stuff, and the subdued beauty of Band of Hope cover Baby You’re a Mess makes a refreshing break from the relentless sincerity otherwise on offer. Have a listen to The Devil Makes Work for Jazz Hands, and if you like what you hear, the rest could be well worth a punt.
Get Found is out now on Xtra Mile Recordings