The Scott Poley Project, Passport. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

A Passport is a very precious item, especially in days of uncertainty, in times of mistrust and in these days of political misjudgement, of the drawing in of borders, of closing people off from free thought and growing discontent, to have a Passport is the finest of possessions to have at your arsenal; it is an arsenal that The Scott Poley Project use to devastating effect and stimulating achievement.

A project it may have started out as, however as the album progresses it is impossible to think of it as an ideal, the undertaking has gone from initial blueprint and onto completion with the architect having sweated and dreamed of the glittering tower, having downed each song as foundations and with massive contributions from Jay Irving, Paul Walsham, Nigel Williams, Tricia McTeague, Chris Howard, Paul Waterworth, Jay Bradberry, Mike Smith, Steve Parry, Richard Turvey, Albert Lee, Neil Fairclough, Etienne Girard, Simon Goulding, Jack Steven, Justin Johnson, Jack McCarthy and Richard Young, this tower is the musical equivalent of the grandest theatre, of the most beautiful stadium.

The centre of this building though is Scott Poley, the generosity of his playing across instruments such as mandolin, keyboards, bouzouki and the very obvious but incredible guitars, is like listening to a conjurer who has discovered how to manipulate sound and echoes and a surgeon who has managed to jump start a dying heart.

The crossover of deep fulfilment in country, the soul that is enhanced, the rock that brings forth the idea of imagination, all this is presented by Scott Poley in such a way that the architect is not only celebrated but has his name across the building in large, bold letters.

In tracks such as Keep Your Feet Down, the excellent Don’t Mess Up A Good Thing, Pulling At Straws, the enlightening The Bad Side of Everything and the power at the heart of the cyclone in 3am, the undertaking of the project is not only framed as an album of the year, it is a heartbeat which cannot be controlled, the swing full of pulse, the lyrics invigorating and the Passport filled with stamps of every colour and design. The Scott Poley Project is an identification of respectful glory.

Ian D. Hall