Nathan Burton - It's Hard To Sell Your House (When It's Part Of A Chain) (Northern Ambition)
UK release date: 14 February 2005
The punning title doesn't really do it justice - this is a fine record, full of wooze and breezy acoustics, and upbeat travelling-song choruses. Nathan Burton is 25, from Wales, and living in Manchester - and he sounds like all those things. Folky and fuzzy. Carefree and optimistic. Basement-era Dylan and the Roses.
There's some nice guitar here, great "woo-woo's", and a splendid, natural production. But it's a subtle palette, and the song-craft is the thing: One verse slides gloriously into the next, Burton's easy voice navigating a strangely fresh milkman's melody. A four-bar, six-note harmonica solo is, for once, not just added for a laugh. He's impressively consistent, too. These are some quality B-sides.
On the basis that nature abhors a vacuum, and following Damon Gough's terrible decline, I suppose we should call Burton the new Badly Drawn Boy. Certainly, he taps the same vein, but he does it better than Gough ever did.