Rob St. John – Like Alchemy EP

Like Alchemy

He doesn’t half make enigmatic little records, Mr. Rob St. John.  I’ve had a copy of this in my possession for a couple of months now but it seems to take me ages to quite come to terms with where I think the beating heart of this recording actually lies.  Previous release Tipping In also baffled me for a while: much like this my favourite songs seemed to change with every listen, and my impression of the core of the recording shifted similarly.

Funnily enough, even though I think Tipping In was a better pop record, in the sense that it had more obvious, immediate hooks, I might be starting to think that this is nevertheless the superior piece of work.  Would it be fair to suggest that, while on Tipping In he sounded a bit like James Yorkston, here he sounds very much like himself.

Having seen him play live, where he’s wielding an electric guitar these days and singing with real conviction, it seems to me that Rob has hit his stride.  This EP is spookier than his previous, and there’s an underlying tension to it which jousts subtly with the beauty he achieved so easily on Tipping In.  It may not be as lovable, and this may be why I took so long to review the EP in the first place, but I would say that this is perhaps the more satisfying record if you give it the time it needs to sink in.

Rob St. John – Paper Ships
[audio:http://www.matthewjamesyoung.com/sbt/PaperShips.mp3]

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