Review Archive

‘Shreds’ from singer-songwriter Ian Reynolds

(September 12, 2012)

It’s not obligatory that musicians suffer for their art, personally or when tuned into wider human suffering – but when they do and their writing floodgates open, what comes through often sweeps youShreds away on a torrid tide of precisely crafted, piercing songs. This is true of ‘Shreds’ from singer-songwriter Ian Reynolds. His are songs of loss and leaving, fear of severance, struggling with division and acute observations on individual and collective vagaries of fate. This album radiates a cutting examination of both physical and emotional division and confusion. And the hard tales told by these songs create an album brimming with striking song writing.

With tender sadness encapsulated in its powerful lyrics ‘Elsa’ exposes the trapped feelings of its hopeless subjects along with their bleak expectations – it’s a tough song. The equally penetrating lyrics of ‘One Night Stand’ take you on a journey of painful truth and betrayal, and familiar or not with the emotions, its meaning reaches everyone. A finely placed accordion helps to emphasise the power of ‘Wild Geese’ which is a simple prayer to leaving with nothing but memories.

Ian takes a thoughtful look on life with ‘More Fool Me’ working a salvaged relationship into a song just as carefully as he deals with separation. The mood change continues through ‘Two Fingers’ – with its acidic observations and sharp, slightly cynical edge. And while you listen, soak in the stark message and tough love of ‘Basra Sands’ and the shattering social certainty of ‘The Ballad Of Billy Grey’.

The CD comes packaged inside a splendidly designed 28-page booklet that includes all the lyrics plus a selection of Ian’s questioning, searching poetry and observations. It takes a lot to move an 'old journo' but ‘Shreds’  worked on me. I loved this album and you will too. The presence in these songs and the depth of feeling Ian pours into their construction is palpable. Buy a copy of ‘Shreds’ - at Limefield Records - and feel it too.

Playing alongside Ian (guitar, vocals) on ‘Shreds’ are Paul Cowham (guitar, mandolin, mandola) Frances O’Rourke (accordion) John Ells (bass, piano, and just about everything else).

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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