A Shut-In’s Prayer
Owen Ashworth made music as Casiotone For The Painfully Alone and I loved it, or at least I loved a lot of it – but it was steeped in a nostalgia that was bitter, almost vengeful, an attempt almost to right the past by rewriting it from a skewed, single perspective. But there was some lovely music and some quirky music and sometimes some lovely, quirky music.
Here he is now as Advance Base and A Shut-In’s Prayer isn’t all that different to a Casiotone album in many ways – the writing is about family, the hindsight is 20-20, there are no rose-tinted glasses but there’s something of an amber filter on the tone of the music. It’s home. But then it’s not. It’s a new name for an old sound and just enough of a new sound for an old head.
A Shut-In’s Prayer has half a dozen beautiful songs – and no duds. The (ever so slightly) lesser songs are still crucial to the puzzle, a 10-song cycle about family and getting by and thinking back and though there’s not really anything hugely uplifting there’s nothing that is a total bummer.
I thought, a few times, of Red House Painters, But it’s not as sad. Nor is it as outwardly/outright sad as the Casiotone For The Painfully Alone material
I would say that this is one of the best new discoveries of the year – but Advance Base is (still) Casiotone For The Painfully Alone. Then again, it’s not. So fuck it, I will say it: one of the best new discoveries (for me) of this year. I love this album.