Jonathan Wilson – Rare Birds review: soothing mix with psychedelic flair

Pure Birds
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Artist: Jonathan Wilson
Genre: Singer / Songwriter
Label: Bella Union

For his third solo album LA-based singer-songwriter/guitarist/producer Jonathan Wilson has departed from his Laurel Canyon sound redux and embraced a "maximalist" textured production that references, per the album press release, British icons such as Roger Waters, with whom Wilson tours, Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel.

I would add Jeff Lyne. But most of all he is true to his own spirit. The album was inspired by a failed relationship. "It's meant more as a healing affair, a rejuvenation, a reconciliation, for others, and for me. I wanted to balance personal narrative with the need I feel for calming healing music."

If your patience with that sort of west coast reflection is limited, be assured the music is a revelation; rounded timeless melodies bursting with psychedelic  flair and invention.

There are 13 tracks the shortest of which, Miriam Montague, clocks in at four minutes and 42 seconds while the lavish Over the Midnight and Loving You both last over eight minutes.


And yet it never drags. Father John Misty, who helps on the Floyd-inspired 49 Hairclips and for whom Wilson produced Pure Comedy, calls him "a rarefied class of musical auteur". On this evidence he has a compelling case.