Butcher the Bar's album For Each A Future Tethered is Joel Nicholson's second stab at this album malarky and if, as I suspect, this time he set out to create a collection of sweet and sunny folk-pop songs then he has succeeded.
There are a few artists that Nicholson in his Butcher The Bar incarnation brings to mind and many come from across the pond. His sweetly sung, breathy songs definitely evoke Elliot Smith but perhaps without the darker edge – from the amount of sunshine that comes bursting through the songs on this album it’s certainly difficult to believe that Nicholson is of a similar disposition to the late Smith.
Shoegazey ditties like Alpha Street West conjure Josh Radin or Jason Schwartzman’s band Coconut Records and there’s definitely something Eels-esque in the rousing Lullaby. As for a homegrown influence then you wouldn’t be far off if you imagined the best of Badly Drawn Boy’s back catalogue.
Butcher The Bar’s sound is quite a full one – layers of clarinets, keyboards, glockenspiels, trumpets, and guitars all pile up to make for some pretty hefty choruses. It would definitely be interesting to check them out at a gig to see if they can translate this big sound into their lives shows.
Inspiration for most of the lyrics seem to be taken from the every day with many tracks recounting little stories – including walks with loved ones, imagined romances and teenaged mums – giving the album a really lovely, personal feel.
Giant with it’s refrain of “you’re my favourite, favourite one” is a good example of the material on offer here – it’s not complicated stuff, but it’s so sweet and backed-up by some pretty impressive musicianship. In fact most of the songs don’t surpass 3 and-a-half minutes so there is no hint that Nicholson is trying to do anything particularly wacky or experimental. For Each A Future Tethered is simply a collection of delightful indie-pop songs, and there is nothing wrong with that.