Denison Witmer's fantastic name belongs in that strange category between indy and Radio 2. Witmer's background is folk: he originally styled himself on Graham Nash and Jackson Browne. But 24 Turned 25 - his first UK release - is taken from his third studio full length, Philadelphia Songs. The sound has grown, the production has been polished, his melodies have got poppier.
The guitar still shows its roots, though - some quiet finger-picking, some lovely chords, and a bit of slide. The musicianship here is great, as are Witmer's vocals. "There's so much pressure in these times"; "try to hold your head up high"; the album title Philadelphia Songs - the words aren't so good, but the delivery is. The voice is somewhere between Neil Young and Stephin Merritt: full and smooth, but with an emotive upper twist.
Somehow, sadly, all does not add up to the sum of its parts. More, perhaps, might have been done with the clash of styles. Perhaps it's too glossy, perhaps the folk elements feel a little forced next to the melody. Who knows - music isn't science. But if it isn't fantastic, it is good. We can expect big things in the future from Denison Witmer.