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Radical Face – Family Tree : The Roots

You might remember Radical Face (real name : Ben Cooper) from 2007’s “Welcome Home”, a song that was picked up by Nikon for one of their commercials. He’s back now with his second full-length, the first in what should become a trilogy telling the story of a fictional family throughout the centuries.

We already knew that Cooper is a gifted storyteller who knows how to write a great song. This time around the songs sound a lot bigger than before thanks to the wider range of instruments and fuller arrangements and it only adds more layers to the beauty that can be heard on “Family Tree : The Roots”. Songs like “A Pound Of Flesh” and “Black Eyes” almost sound too good to be true!

It’s like the ultimate exercise in balancing between wavering folk and broad pop songs and the result is something that will remind you of The Shins, Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver and Grizzly Bear yet stands completely on its own merits. The piano and subtle percussion drive almost every song onward with Cooper’s warm and slightly nasal voice soaring high above it, backed up by choirs from time to time. And then there are tracks like “The Moon Is Down”, which comes with a more stripped down sound and brings Elliott Smith to mind and “Ghost Towns”… the part where the accordion comes in just knocks it right out the ballpark!

“Family Tree : The Roots” simply is one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful albums I’ve heard in quite some time and I can’t wait for the second installment to find out more about the trial and tribulations of the Northcotes.
Score: 9 out of 10

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