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Album, Single and EP Reviews

 

  Stuart Turner

A Gallon of Water Makes a Mile of Fog cover art

Title: A Gallon of Water Makes a Mile of Fog
Catalogue Number: Sun Pier SPRCD002
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2007


All sorts of music come through the Bluesbunny letter box. That is a good thing as we get to hear albums that cause us to stop and think. "A Gallon of Water makes a Mile of Fog" was such an album. Stuart Turner's gravelly vocals give it a powerful, earthy appeal but it was the raw power of the lyrics that impressed us most.

There are 24 tracks on this album. Some were songs and some were instrumental interludes. This was nothing like normal album programming and we have to admit that parts of it jarred but unfailingly it got your attention. "Toe Tag" opens the album in an uplifting manner that reflects the lyrics about survival. "We Need to Talk" is a simple, indeed conventional, piece of acoustic blue but we are then hit - and that is the best way of describing it - by a sonic wall of noise in "Dangerous Cancer". Hypocrisy gets tackled in "What's It Got to Do to You". The discordant piano that leads us through "The Truth about Charlie" fits nicely with the disturbing subject matter of self absorption and a person's descent out of society. "Breaking Bottles" features some fine guitar work interspersed with a raucous, disturbing chant. Eddie Cochran meets Tom Waits in "Jumping Jill" to accompany the savage lyrics. Raw social commentary seems to be something that Stuart Turner does very well. Conventional acoustic folk stylings lead us into "Won't Make Tomorrow" and indeed take us out of the album with a song that might well be considered sentimental in "Ballad of the Gliding Swan". Nothing on this album is easy. You hear a song once, listen to it again and change your opinion about it.

In many ways, this was a hard album to review. The press release stated that the songs were tales of everyday life in a Medway town but it is clearly a very personal collection of songs and we found it quite hard to listen to. This does not make this a bad album by any means but it is a thousand miles from easy listening territory and is accordingly demanding of the listener. Some of the songs are indeed musical tales but there is a whole lot of emotion there. Sonically, you might consider Stuart Turner's voice alongside Tom Waits or even Captain Beefheart but those lyrics really exude pain, anguish and frustration. So we doubt that this is an album that you will play often but you should. It does have a happy ending.


www.myspace.com/stuartturner
Reviewer:
Review Date: October 28, 2007