[sic] Magazine

Just Everywhere – The Light Side Of The Raw

Despite being pegged by some as an out-and-out rocker, and with experimental blasts of noise under his belt to bolster the argument, Paul Baird has always been mellower than first impressions may cast him. The piano-led indie days of his I See Angels project were rarely anything but tender, for example, and his Just Everywhere solo debut last year on Manchester’s Ramber Records pitched him just as often at the feet of blissed-out ambience as it did at the altar of heavy scree.

Seemingly now very much at home and happy with his family, Baird’s The Light Side Of The Raw basks in the warmth of summer, resolutely dialling down any sense of residual urgency in his veins. True, most of his trademark ingredients are still in place, but when his pedal array might previously have fired off some shoegaze monolith, now it fills in chirruping field-capture with a heat-hazed hum and chimes. Nonetheless this is an album recorded and mixed loud and the result is a maximal brand of dream-pop. The chill vibe in lovely album opener “Faith”, for example, latterly suffocates in intangible drones and feedback, Baird’s ever-swooning vocal and floor drums adding further bite, cheeky back-masking seasoning the final potion with more mystery.

Further down the running order, blatant organ drones come out for the gentle “Enchanté” – a skittering lullaby that muses on the modernity of modern vanity while lead single “Paint” is the arguably the heaviest-lidded of the bunch, that same wheezy organ setting the meandering pace, harmonising guitars lilting in like a rustling breeze before charged electric riffing adds some real dynamism to the latter exchanges. As always, it’s Baird’s ability to surprise that makes you pay most attention however, the nagging guitar riff in “Automatic” unapologetically getting its white-boy funk on like Unknown Mortal Orchestra one minute, RZA-style beats doing the damage on “Scarecrow” the next, a killer solo ripped straight from the hard-rock handbook unsettling the psychedelic key repeats on closer “Fiction” just because. The most magpie-like of mavericks, there are bedroom artists and then there are bedroom artists like Baird. Think twice before stepping over his unique threshold.

~The Light Side Of The Raw is released August 3rd 2018.~