Unwed Sailor The White Ox

Being reminded of home comes at some of the most unexpected of times. Walking down the street and catching a whiff of pine around Christmas time, or even a discreet sniff of a wood-burning fire when the snow starts falling usually does the trick for me. Yet, it doesn’t have to be something that’s instantly familiar, as certain tones even give a feeling of regret or craving for the comforts of home. The music concocted by Johnathon Ford is instantly inviting, but it’s more akin to coming home to an abandoned house: recognisable, yet oddly eerie. Where instrumental numbers like "Shadows” and "Night Diamond” pluck and burn with an elegiac hug, "Gila” stirs up just enough menace to make sure you keep a healthy distance. Most important, things aren’t all slow dulcet notes, as "Numbers” even gets a little poppy, as Early Day Miners’ Dan Burton provides some catchy breaths as the song ups the tempo ever so slightly. But, to listen to this effort as a collection of singles is to miss Unwed Sailor’s power. It takes this whole album to realise that Ford and company have teased and plucked the heartstrings as easily as waiting relatives at the door after a long exodus. Welcome home. (Burnt Toast)