'As Robert Dale's Belgian Fog endeavour so transparently elucidated only yesterday, there are forever more artists emerging sounding that bit more fully-formed than some ever even aspired so to do. And woebegone Tyne and Wear songsmith Richard Smith is another such exemplar, in that his Wishing Well – lifted from début EP Autumn Is Here, And I Guess I’m Still In Love With You – is an utterly exemplary recording, irrespective of how far into his burgeoning career it just so happens to have come. Smith leaves us with no misgivings as to his default MO – with an email handle of underneaththeabjectwillow, there’s no evading the reality that he dines out on despondency. Though only a heathen would argue it not to be the most readily digestible of all songwriting modes and as seemingly Sophie Trudeau-inspired strings ebb lifelessly under tumbling fretwork, there’s an invigorating despair down in its sunless depths. “Honey I let you get away” Smith plaintively laments, before he pleads: “Lay down beside me/ Tell me all your deepest fears” and asks that he be allowed to subsume every last one like a fathomless borehole. Orchestral flurries and military snares add further dejected gusto as the song develops, before a series of soughed loops rustle as though whispering trees atop a stirring guitar line redolent of much of AMOK. A refined lesson in restraint, and one many of Smith’s elders could do with heeding, really…

  1. dotsandashes posted this