Colin Clyne: The Never Ending Pageant
By Neil King, January 2015
Time is a strange beast at the best of times events that you thought were a short while ago turn out to be a few years back and conversely events that you thought were in the dim and distant turn out to be more recent than you think. I was just about to pen a piece about, “The Never Ending Pageant” following on the heels of debut album, “Doricana” when I realise that it’s been over four years since his last full album. As with the debut album, “The Never Ending Pageant” was preceded by an EP “Doon Tae The Wid”, just to ensure there remained a public face for the singer songwriter.
Both the title of the EP and his singing voice give no doubt to Colin’s Scottish heritage and he’s actually based there again, having spent more than a decade living in the US, with both regions having an impact on both his writing and singing style, but rather than ending up with a sound that is mid-Atlantic, “The Never Ending Pageant” would better be described as Americana with a Scots accent.
First and foremost, this is a songwriters album, and by that I mean it’s a series of tales and stories, rather than a homage to feelings and emotions, though naturally there is an emotive constituency, you wouldn’t be able to add the blues touches and mean them without it. Similarly it’s hard to get riled enough to write about something like injustice without anger and indignation.
One of the things I like about Clyne’s writing style is that whilst it has relatively clean lines, it doesn’t lack depth and gives plenty of opportunity to explore the songs and you get the feeling that if you heard them live, a different inclination here or there could take you easily down another path.
It’s a similar case with the presentation/arrangements, whilst there are other musicians involved in delivering the music, you can also imagine them stripped back to just one man and his guitar, no backing singing, no matter how good or subtle they are, no percussion or bass, just man, word and guitar.
I like “The Never Ending Pageant” a lot. It’s one of those albums that may not set the world on fire at first listening, but which pulls you back to it and will continue to deliver over the years, rather than amaze and disappear in a flash and that’ll do me.