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40 Watt Sun – ‘Perfect Light’

Svart Records
Anathema, Nick Cave, Mogwai, Elbow, Warning, The River, Katatonia
Release Date
Svart Records
Doom/Atmospheric/Alternative Rock

The third album by 40 Watt Sun takes us yet further away from the main protagonist’s Doom Metal past. “Perfect Light” is the equivalent of the early hours Chillout session; here it’s for Metal fans instead of Ravers; the bliss is exchanged for tightly wrought emotions.

Patrick Walker first rose to prominence as the front man for London based Doom Metallers “Warning”. After just two studio albums they split, and Patrick started recording under the name 40 Watt Sun with 2011’s “The inside Room”; an album of down-beat, intense, and somewhat sad nature, followed in 2016 by the wonderful (if somewhat difficult) “Wider than the Sky”. Never likely to be suddenly recording party anthems to dance to, “Perfect Light” keeps to the stripped back, almost ambient instrumentation. It does however, evoke something similar in essence to the Folk-Ish storytelling of John Martyn, Richard Thompson, and more recently, Guy Garvey.

With an array of guest musicians rather than a formal “band”, the writing and recording process has been a full year of experimentation, collaboration, and a decidedly “fluid” approach to song writing and song structure. On first listen through, some of the song have a meandering quality, and indeed may seem somewhat over-long. If you’ve enjoyed it enough to give it another go through though, it is without doubt one of those albums that deserves, possibly even demands, a second listen. There is more depth of emotion, more lyrics to associate with each subsequent play. If you’re “of an age” and have lived life to somewhere near the full you’ll find your past self somewhere in these beautiful words.

Patrick’s vocals range from hushed and reverential; plaintive even, to a powerful, yet downtrodden vibrato in a similar sonic vein to The Psychedelic Furs’ Richard Butler. The musicianship is impeccable, and the recording and mixing is truly exemplary. The true standout is not an individual track for this album though, it is the deeply personal and emotionally powerful lyrics of love, loss, and the simple realities of life.

"Painfully honest and heartfelt; you could find this getting right under your skin, but it’s certainly not for everyone. Try it on a long late-night drive"

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