Monday, 27 May 2013

The Fascinating World of Mark Wynn

There's always been room in my life for an acerbic singer songwriter with an ear for a great tune and a penchant for a well-time lyrical sideswipe at anyone who crosses his field of vision. I could trace a lineage through Billy Bragg, Andy White all the way through to Chris T-T and still have plenty of gaps to fill in at the end.

Thing is, though, for someone in this field to stand out you can't be too much like anyone else, which is what makes it such a tough thing to do.  The restrictions you have to work with him - often just you and a guitar - make this the musical form that's most comparable to the sonnet.  It's like someone else made the rules and you've got to work within them but still find enough space to do your own thing, say something at least occasionally remarkable and sound like no one else.

That's why anyone who emerges from the pack deserves to be celebrated.  Step forward Mark Wynn, York-based troubadour and someone who can more than hold his own in the illustrious company mentioned above. Great thing is he's got something to say and he says it a lot.  His fascinating back catalogue already four cracking releases he put out via his bandcamp site last year and the three he's racked up this year already.

I'd already decided to play something from his Social Situations album - also released as a split vinyl LP with The Sorry Kisses - in my June show on Dandelion Radio because, frankly, it's among the half dozen best releases of the year so far, when Mark directed my attention to the album he put out in January, which more than holds its own under the potentially burdensome title of Eggs, Kes and that bike I never bought you even though that I would like to.  Then, literally as I was preparing the show, out came a new EP, The Polar Bear Blah EP.

I promise I'll try to play something from the EP in the coming months, but at the moment I'm loving Social Situations so much it's hard to find room for anything else.  'Cat Smack Baby' is every bit as good as its title suggests, while 'Halloween Song' offers a whole new take on the vampire/zombie love fetish so beloved of cinema.  'I Am John 2' is as good an example of the kind of stream of consciousness masterpiece that Wynn specialises in as anything you'll hear.  I'm keeping back 'Football Love Song' for a 2014 World Cup special show I've got planned because so many people tell me they enjoyed the one I did in 2010 (thanks) and have gone for the wonderful 'Bukoswki', a song that crams about five minutes' worth of great material into two, to play in my show in June.

Of all the potential comparisons, perhaps the nearest and most appropriate is with the demiurge-like genius of Jeffrey Lewis.  Rare praise indeed, but then Mark Wynn is a very rare artist and any praise that comes his way is well-aimed.

Get Social Situations here 
And get The Polar Bear Blah EP here
And, while you're at it, get Eggs, Kes... here

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