Label: On the Fiddle
Best Track: Red Sky
When a band splits or a member departs it’s not surprising, maybe even expected or warranted, that a solo album is waiting in the wings. It might serve as an explanation to why the departure happened, as was the case with Peter Gabriel, it could also be a need to put out material that was supposed to be featured on the band’s next album, like Fish’s Vigil in the Wilderness of Mirrors. On the other hand; when an artist in a very much active band releases a solo effort it may seem a bit strange. A listener might wonder what the purpose for this could be, especially if the artist is the primary songwriter of the group as with Ian Anderson in Jethro Tull or Mike Scott, who basically is the only remaining member of The Waterboys.
The Levellers of the other hand is more of a songwriting collective and putting forth a solo album might be the only way for a member of such a band to showcase once individual style as an artist.
Moment is Chadwick’s second effort after his 2010 debut All the Pieces. That album was quite a deviation from The Levellers’ catalog with its closest kin being Truth & Lies and Hello Pig, but also not a very impressive showing from Chadwick. The tracks were similar in structure and composition as well as lyrically stunted and a as a concept rather dull. This doesn’t make for a very good base to jump off from for Moment.
This past Record Store Day Chadwick chose to release a single from the upcoming album, a seven inch version of Red Sky. When Satellite was dropped online in 2010 it seemed like it would set a good tone for the coming album, but alas it didn’t. Red Sky gives very much the same impression, but to the joy of the listeners Moment fulfills the promises the single makes.
All the Pieces was disjointed and at times confusing lyrically without a clear agenda to them Moment is the counterpart. One gets the feeling that Chadwick has put a bit more effort into his solo songwriting or at least decided what he is going to write about. Previously the songs have lacked personality and recognition, whereas Moment if filled with relatable topics and an honesty that strikes dead center at the heart.
Each track on the album has its own story, a tale within itself, about people. This is what makes these songs more approachable and interesting. One gets the feeling that it is all set in or around some dive bar where people come and go, but their stories remain, as if Chadwick has witnessed them first hand. All the Pieces felt as if it was set in a fairground or carnival with everything that entails, but only to a certain extent.
It is also nice that it doesn’t become a Levellers- esque album, but that he makes it his own with a more rootsy folk sound rather than the Clash -punk -folk that the band is known for.
Moment is as a whole a well done deviation for Chadwick and shows that he has the ability to put something out that is worth while without the rest of The Levellers. It works on many levels, as one unity or each song telling its own tale. Unfortunately this album probably won’t make mainstream play, though it should because Mark Chadwick has made a great album.