# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

D Henry Fenton - Autumn Sweet

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 7 / 5 / 2002

D Henry Fenton - Autumn Sweet
Label: Laughing Outlaw
Format: CD


"Way above average collection of irresistibly catchy pop / rock songs" on the consistently excellent Laughing Oulaw label from Sydney based singer songwriter

There are three reasons which make this debut album by d Henry Fenton more than the usual good, solid rock / pop album with folk and country touches. These three reasons turn this album into an outstanding example of the genre and make for another excellent release from the good folks at Laughing Outlaw Records. One wonders when they are going to stumble and release a merely average album, but it’s not going to be this month on this showing. It’s not just Fenton’s vocals, which recall those of Elliott Smith, which make this album a cut above the rest. Nor is it the shared talent he has with Josh Rouse in being able to tell a story from beginning to end , all in the space of three minutes. No, the first thing which attracts attention to this album by the former member of Sydney band Holly Golightly, is the name of Mitch Easter as co-producer along with Fenton. Easter also plays various instruments on the tracks on this album. Mitch Easter's name on an album’s credits is an assurance that any fan of well-constructed pop / rock music will not be disappointed by the contents. Easter’s following has been growing steadily since he produced the early recordings of REM and fronted his own band, Let’s Active. Let’s not forget either The Hummingbirds ‘Lovebuzz’ which he produced way back in 1989 and which is still a favourite today. Then, of course, Easter recently played a great part in the making of the last Orange Humble Band’s album. Fenton, therefore, picked the right producer for his debut which brings us onto the second and third reasons this album is so good. Tracks nine and ten, ‘New York Song’ and ‘Only Angels can Fly’, are simply two of the best songs of the year so far and really do turn this album into something special. ‘Only Angels Can Fly’ is one of the more acoustic based songs on the album and floats along on a gorgeous melody with Fenton relating the tale of “A divorcee on day release” meeting an in- debt gambler in an airport bar. Both sides sound as lost and vulnerable as each other as Fenton’s talent for storytelling shining through. “Linda might be trouble but trouble can go far, with something just as desperate by it’s side”. ‘New York Song’ again has a fragile melody which once heard is never forgotten and again is an acoustic number, but this time twelve and six string guitars replace the Pedal Steel and Hammond of ‘Only Angels Can Fly’. Singling out two of the thirteen-featured songs should not be taken as an indication that the other tracks disappoint. If those two songs were not on this album it would still be a way above average collection of irresistibly catchy pop / rock songs. ‘Trouble Comes’, which opens the album is a song which many writers would be proud to have penned and it is an extremely good song but, unfortunately, because tracks nine and ten are such classics, everything else on this album is overshadowed by them. Maybe Fenton should have saved one of them for his next album to get it off to a flying start! Track two, ‘Autumn Sweet’, is the first of a faster-paced set of songs featuring the electric guitar and has Fenton’s vocals lending the track an almost Crowded House feel, which is even more noticeable on the following song, ‘Over and Over’. Arguably the catchiest song here is the jangly pop of ‘I’m Not Ready For You’ which really shows that Fenton knows his way around a tune. It’s with ease that Fenton then slips into the next song, the acoustic ‘Lightning’,showing that his warm, comforting vocals are as well suited to the slower –paced acoustic numbers as they are to the more rockier songs. ‘The Many Faces Of Esther’ is probably the best example of one of the more rock influenced songs here, driven along by an extremely catchy electric guitar riff with a Chamberlin adding texture to the song. This album is highly recommended to anyone who likes pop / rock with country and folk elements incorporated into the sound. The intelligent and thoughtful lyrics are an added bonus, just like tracks nine and ten.

Track Listing:-
1 Trouble Comes
2 Autumn Sweet
3 Over n Over
4 Sleep
5 I’m Not Ready For You
6 Lightning
7 Love Only Lies Half Naked Next To Me
8 Slow Down Dixie
9 New York Song
10 Only Angels Can Fly
11 The Many Faces Of Esther
12 Sad Hotel
13 Jericho’s Horse

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