Bird dog is the first release from Londoner Patrick Rees. It’s very much a slow burning, laidback affair. Rees says he wrote this handful of songs on a battered old guitar whilst he was travelling earlier on this year. Its shows with a very decluttered, simplistic and honest production. It’s just one man and his guitar, strumming and singing. The bareboned, home produced aesthetic runs through the album with a mellow, intimate vibe to proceedings.
Opening track ‘Sleep’ is a dreamy trawl through a quiet musical backwater. It’s a track that just slowly washes over you and passes you by. ‘Words’ is more of the same, stripped back acoustic guitar and a slow, ambling vocal. ‘Just echoes’ is a nice track with shades of Fionn Regan to it. It has an accompanying video that Rees shot on a mobile phone, he plans to release videos for all six of the tracks on the EP. ‘Years’ is a catchy three minutes that tells of love that’s run its course. ‘Ghost tracks’ is the weakest number for me, all finger plucking and emoting without going anywhere. Last track ‘Close’ complete the running order with an understated, not unpleasant lo-fi love song.
Rees shares musical stylings with the likes of Laura Marling and Nick Drake, its low-key and uncomplicated stuff. Where you stand on this record is very much dictated by your taste for pared back acoustic, folk music. If you like your tunes thoughtful and meaningful without any fussy overproduction then this is the artist for you. There’s no musical boundaries being shattered here but I’m partial to my singer songwriters and Bird dog is an amiable enough first effort from Rees.
Review by Niall Healy