Inti Rowland is a singer songwriter from London and an increasingly talked about artist, largely down to his stunning delivery and poetic words. With a voice as fragile as the sentiments of his lyrics, his newest offering is one of pure, unadulterated beauty. At moments the record has a hymnal quality and cathedral ambience to it – it is not surprising therefore, that the debut LP was actually recorded in rapid timing – just six days – in a converted chapel in the Scottish highlands.
Unlike many other albums in the nu-folk mould, Inti manages to avoid a cliché full force approach to his sound and instead uses the tools of his trade quite sparingly. With frequent bursts of percussion, strings, and wind instruments, he’s able to keep the listener constantly guessing as to his next move. In this vein, his style could be most closely aligned with fellow folk inflected group Bears Den, who also avoid any kind of acoustic assault in favour of a more subtle and nuanced demonstration of musical ability.
Vocal delivery is emotively on edge, weighted as if about to crack beneath the gravity of his lyrics. Listeners are reminded of Dan Croll, James Bay or Rhodes in the way vocals manage to transcend their apparent fragility. With this in mind, it is apt that Inti decided to use the imagery of an aviary in the album’s title – beautiful in sound and concept, and simultaneously a reminder of a delicate, graceful and vulnerable nature.
Among the highlights – ‘The Ballad of the Ballroom Ghost’, ‘Beaten Battered but Bold’ and with its stunning harmonies, the brilliant ‘The Golden Lark’.
From first listen, it’s almost impossible to be disappointed. This is definitely only the beginning for Mr Rowland.
Dominic Smithers (Chickens are Dinosaurs)