Album Review: Jon Boden – Afterglow

Jon Boden is perhaps one of the most widely known names within modern folk today. Having plied his dextrous and alluring magic across a variety of musical ventures over the years, including his part in the astounding duo Spiers and Boden as well as fronting the truly legendary Bellowhead for over a decade. His music has always been somewhat of a force of nature and his accolades speak for themselves but now with the departure of Bellowhead still so fresh in our minds we have the luxury of seeing Boden branch off into his first solo project in some time with Afterglow, a casually experimental album that allows him to broaden his own unique style of work.

With such a mesmerising body of work Boden has always had an enigmatic flair and an enviable panache that has allowed him to captivate fans all across the globe. His lightening strike style of violin combined with his powerful and heartfelt vocals have lifted thousands of hearts and minds throughout the world. This style is something that fans have come to know and love over the years and thankfully Afterglow doesn’t disembark from it, instead it expands and builds upon it. It is a stunning collection of songs that have the warm embers of Boden’s previous work at their heart and yet there is a soft, experimental trickle the exudes its pressure throughout, broadening his horizons and pushing the boundaries of both his musical ability and his fans expectations.

His songs are just as exciting and enigmatic as before and yet there is softer and more tender element to them than we have previously experienced. There is also a form of darkness and sadness that floats behind some of his songs, as Boden explores some seminal issues and problems that the world faces. As Boden moves away from his time with Bellowhead it has allowed him to focus on his thought-provoking lyrics and powerful melodies as fresh as a breath of fresh Spring air. This is not to say that his style has changed as such, but it has definitely evolved – his charming violin melodies are still present but now they are so intrinsically entwined with an effervescent almost orchestral score that ebbs and flows like the tide. Softly flowing, the music Boden surrounds himself with supports and enhances songs such as Fires of Midnight which seem to swirl around you. Oboes, clarinets, guitars, bells, cymbals, violins and so much more all combine in a clash of sound with the power of a tsunami but as gentle as the touch of a feather.

With his charismatic trademark voice, Boden has always been a phenomenal performer with an indominable stage presence and spine-tingling musical talent. Afterglow is a truly mesmerising piece of art that allows Boden the privilege of spreading his wings once again, further and wider than ever before as he bares his soul in a flurry of breath-taking songs. Soft and tender, the album treads an ever evolving line between folk and rock as Boden fashions heartfelt and timeless songs and intertwines them with rocked up anthems such as All the Stars Are Coming Out Tonight. This expertly crafted album subtly blends together Boden’s own unique style with a powerful contemporary series of experimentations.

Afterglow is Boden’s first solo foray since the disbandment of the mighty Bellowhead and with the loss still so heavy in all of our hearts, Boden’s solo work is a refreshing treat and a healthy dose of the stunning music that we all love and miss so much, as well as forming an introduction the future of music.

Pre-order ‘Afterglow’ here

Tour Dates

Solo – November
Mon 6th Pocklington Arts Centre
Tues 7th The Core at Corby Cube
Weds 8th OPEN, Norwich
Thurs 9th Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot
Fri 10th Connaught Theatre, Worthing
Sun 12th Theatre Royal Winchester
Mon 13th Number 8, Pershore
Tues 14th Ludlow Assembly Rooms

Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings dates – November
Fri 17th Sage Gateshead
Sat 18th The Leadmill, Sheffield
Sun 19th Victoria Hall, Settle
Mon 20th Haverhill Arts Centre
Tues 21st St. Mary’s in the Castle, Hastings
Weds 22nd The Scala, London
Thurs 23rd The Lighthouse, Poole
Fri 24th The Globe, Cardiff
Sat 25th The Cheese & Grain, Frome
Sun 26th Lincoln Performing Arts Centre

Review by Joe Knipe