THIS is the fourth LP from the acclaimed Canadian songwriter, and the first to credit his long-term backing band, Blacksmith.
It’s also his first release since achieving a minor breakthrough with 2011’s Oh Fortune; yet anyone banking on more of the same or a logical progression is in for a shock.
The archetypal “difficult” record, Club Meds’ focus is on sonic textures and subtle layering as opposed to anthemic value, making for a dense and often atmospheric listen.
Its effect, though, is rather mixed.
On one hand, Mangan’s rich baritone is ideal for this methodical approach, and his murky sound collages should provide plenty of intrigue for more patient listeners.
On the other hand, it’s an album that’s interesting without being particularly rewarding, with perseverance failing to uncover the chest of treasures it initially appears to conceal. 6/10. AW