The UK is a miserable place at times, more often than not in fact, and artists such as Benjamin Shaw fully embrace that misery and spin it out in stories of hopelessness, rejection and the knowledge that pretty much everything is complete shit. Luckily, Goodbye, Cagoule World isn't complete shit and instead takes all the rubbish that life throws out and turns it into a record that embraces it, recognises it and realises that it's all part of just being a human being.
Shaw's voice is broken, cracked and imperfect but that's what gives his music such truth. "No One" takes a long time to get moving, all looped signals and fuzz before Shaw's vocal breaks the wall and layers it with weighted sadness. "Break the Kettles and Sink the Boats" introduces an odd little electronic slant before "A Day at the Park" gets wildly off the the acoustic style track that Shaw has brought to proceedings so far with a tripped out beat that later incorporates strings and a slowly building movement towards intensity. It sounds much angrier than previous tracks and it plays off the twanging, questioning style of "Magneto Was Right" quite nicely.
"You & Me" uses discordant organ sounds to create an atmosphere of gloom towards the latter half of a song which before that had sounded somewhat upbeat. Of course the lyrics are beautifully despairing and Benjamin Shaw's talent at vocalising the pain that comes along with growing up and learning the hard way is plain to hear. Goodbye, Cagoule World is a record that lies on the acoustic, singer/songwriter spectrum but it occasionally strays into more experimental territory - the electronic touches, drum machines, odd brass-like sections - and these small touches lift the record above others of it ilk in that it tries to do something different with an over-saturated genre. He'll hate to hear it, but Benjamin Shaw is pretty darn good.
7.0 / 10
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