The second album from Liverpool singer songwriter Neville Skelly is a warming collection of songs highlighting his gift for graceful balladeering and hushed moods. Featuring a couple of relatives from The Coral and partly inspired by his experiences of being a father, ‘Carousel’ is an intimate, heartfelt record which has an atmosphere that could partly be attributed to it being recorded in the kitchen of a terraced house. An compellingly understated string arrangement lends itself wonderfully to the folk jazz backdrop of the opening title track, and Skelly’s alluring croon recalls echoes of John Martyn on the gentle acoustic breeze of ‘Falling Leaves’, one of the LP’s most captivating moments.
Smoky shades of Van Morrison run through ‘House Of Saints’ before the haunting ‘White Roses’ takes the album to a temporarily darker place. With an evident presence of Coral members, ‘Silence Lies In The Sand’ is a laid back, soulful cruise that provides a sweet highlight, while sweet strings light up the elegant folk moods of ‘Catherine’s Song’. Afterwards the quality wears thin on country ballad ‘Love You Gave’ and the direct, almost Springsteen-like ‘Walking In The Shadows’, but there will doubtlessly be people who will warm to them. The tearful, captivating closer ‘Before She Was Gone’ is an example of what Skelly seems to do better at.
It’s probably a bit too laid back to hold the attention of certain listeners, but it’s definitely suitable for those looking for something warm, tender and sumptuous. Hardly original or groundbreaking, but a pleasant listen all the same. [Rating: 3.5]
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