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Artist: Hugh J and The Picnic
Hugh J and The Picnic is actually just one guy, Hugh Noble, from Exeter, England. His self-released album “Asleep” is a typically British affair in that it has that pervasive air of cautious pessimism or dourness about it. Noble starts off with the short jig “I Am Shy” which, though unfortunately-titled, is in all actuality a pretty decent folk song. The rest of the album ebbs and flows depending on the melody, but Noble’s vocals never really shine… Perhaps because they can’t, but I get the feeling it’s more because he won’t let them. There’s relatively little difference from one song to the next and as “Asleep” wears on it feels like Noble’s trying to lull you there so you don’t have to hear some of the better songs at the end, such as “Oh! February.”
Whatever the case, it’s not a bad release for a true independent. It just feels like he could’ve exerted a little more effort on the lyrics. - Patrick Masterson