Heath Common, Encounters With Light, Heath Common (Hi 4 Head Records) **** RIGHT out of the gate, this is an interesting one. The album opens with Icarus – a cautionary tale and look-back at the life and untimely death of Jimi Hendrix. But rather than a simple, straightforward song, the track is a strange echoing mix of Twin Peaks-era Angelo Badalamenti music, subwoofer-troubling spoken word, with hints of Pink Floyd and Nick Cave thrown in to boot. Next up is Angeline Albertine – in the style of a Russian dance, with that same ridiculously low vocal, but fun and catchy like a Half Man Half Biscuit number, in tribute to a Bohemian gin-drinker. Reflections On Francis is a touching track, covering regret and memory and name-checking Charles Bukowski, while Before Lennon is another spoken=word number, a charming dirge with a sinister twist on the former Beatle’s Love Me Do. Essentially poetry set to music, Encounters With Light won’t be to everyone’s liking. Similarly, Common’s vocals are an acquired taste, but like Billy Bragg’s voice perfectly suits the music only he can create, the astonishingly deep spoken word fits the album perfectly.

Dan Bean