Buswell (& The Underground Orchestra)
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Buswell (& The Underground Orchestra)

Swindon, England, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

Swindon, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Folk Classical


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"Rhythm & Booze review (10/10)"

'Buy Me New Shoes' from Buswell is one of those albums that has a feeling of longevity about it. Buswell write and perform what could almost be described as 'classic' songs that fall to the lighter side of contemporary rock/folk/country.

'Buy Me New Shoes' is stunningly put together; great musicianship, superb arrangements and very tasty songs that are often bolstered with empathetic orchestration. Buswell are a class act! As I listen I can hear their professionalism and dedication to creativity pouring out; constantly ringing the aural changes through their seeming multitudinal instruments of choice, Buswell keep it very real but subtle. These 'babes' are just something else!!

This album is rammed full of lyrics reflecting life's experiences, observations and honest to goodness ramblings about the challenges that are thrown at us throughout our lives. Everything comes together with awesome clarity and a generally chilled feel. Great writing - great playing - everything's done to an absolute turn! Very impressive stuff to sit and ponder over or just drink in and enjoy.

With their combined multi-instrumental talents and stunning vocal work, Buswell have come up with an absolute peach of an album in 'Buy Me New Shoes'! There's nothing to dislike or even find fault with here - 'Buy Me New Shoes' is top drawer, top notch contemporary music that deserves to do extremely well for this superb outfit.

Top marks from me here for Buswell's 'Buy Me New Shoes' - look out for Buswell - you won't be disappointed!

Rhythm'n'booze rating 10/10 - Rhythm & Booze Magazine

"Whisperin' & Hollerin' Review (9/10)"

It never ceases to amaze me how different artists come through regularly to provide a fresh injection of style and energy to the craft of writing songs, and Swindon folk-tinged filmscore compositors BUSWELL are no exception.

Originally the solo brainchild of singer Shaun Buswell, evolution has seen the project flower into a full 4-piece outfit that create introspective slices of inner truth using acoustic guitar, strings, piano and bass plus the odd sample thrown in for good measure

Shaun Buswell’s initial plan was to perform as a solo artist, but before long collaborators had evolved into a full band that tout everything from childhood memory flashbacks to drug-torn tales of broken love affairs. The softer acoustic melodies drive on a burning sense of introspection, and the liquid thoughts prevail throughout during a metamorphosis that sees the mental pictures take vivid shape in the listener’s mind.

Amidst a veritable tidal wave of piano and fiddle comes the emergence of questions that you’d never ask outside your own head. Uplifting to the ear is this documentation of universal truths where matters of the heart are concerned, despite the spaghetti mess of emotions that need to be deciphered along the way.

The looping vocal hook in ‘Don’t Go Wasting Time’ is driven home by a ‘good cop/bad cop’ scenario created by keys that soothe and drums that batter the sensibilities. Pianist Becky’s gentle backing vocals melt the heartstrings, and soundtrack the aching of that all-symbolic organ beautifully.

‘Let Me Love’ is all catgut and catastrophe, crashing into view in a mind’s eye on the back of a percussive skitter-scatter. The legnthy intro is a mere prelude to emotional storm-mongering, and you will surely duck as the plates hit the wall behind you, hurled from a rapidly-emptying Welsh dresser.

The stunted lick that signals the arrival of ‘The Drugs Are Making You Love’ spells danger, as does the crashing hi-hat drum pattern, and so the headspin continues to spiral towards a vortexical self-searching exercise that forces you to meticulously examine every corner of your soul. For those who really need pop music to deter them from the evils of (ahem) having a ‘friend’ called Charles, the emptiness of this tune, harmonised yet given over to the scrape of the violin must surely be the clinching track.

Likewise, ‘He’s Only Looking At Other Women Because He’s Not Happy With Himself’ grates and bristles with its title’s particular spiky truth despite the day-dreamlike trance created by the shining folk production. Rolling drum fills and gentle acoustics characterise the whole album’s sound, and Buswell’s soulful falsetto shuns all defensive walls on a carefully aimed and accurate journey towards your Achilles heel.

From a bristling offensive this record moves to the gentle and vulnerably childlike in the title track, an awesome and beautifully melancholic conversation with parents that have been traced after an adolesence spent without. Like much of the inspiration for this relentlessly soul-searching collection, the process of thought seems to be separated from reality, distanced by the dreamy soundscapes and studded with private moments.

Shimmering, indie with a folk twist creates the basis for otherwise naked truths to shine like a beacon in a succession of wonderfully poignant songs. A record that slides, shifts and then finally hammers home its assortment of uncomfortable messages, this is one that will linger on long after the music has stopped. 9/10
- Whisperin' & Hollerin'

"High voltage Review (4/5)"

Buswell create quite possibly some of the most beautiful and relaxing music out there right now. Its not calm and quirky like the stuff all over the phone adverts on the telly, but a genuinely beautiful, calm record thats full of all of the traditional bits and pieces. Piano, viola and cello all grace this album and the usual elegant female vocal plays a key role, delicately polishing and buffing the background until it shines.

Yet on this pretty backdrop lay lyrics of reality imagine if the Arctic Monkeys had never heard Oasis and spent all their time listening to the Reindeer Section and Seafood instead. Opener The Barfly sees the unveiling of a sordid tale of booze hounds, and the rather brilliantly named Hes Only Looking At Other Women Because Hes Not Happy With Himself shows more guts than the lads from Sheffield ever have.

More remarkably yet, the album doesnt all sound the same a cruel statement admittedly, but often with albums of this ilk the tracks often stay as a much of a muchness, yet Buswell have created an album full of pop songs that are classically tinged. And if that doesnt make them geniuses then I dont know what does
- High Voltage magazine

"Americana UK review"

Riding on the wave of the indie-cum-folk renaissance, Buswell seem to be picking up the right sort of accolades with their heart-on-sleeve blend of folk, angry in-your-face lyrics, and flowing melodies.

What they are trying to achieve musically has oodles of potential and their musical influences are clear – Elbow, James, the Levellers (when they were good – now that’s going back!) and even Deacon Blue, are emulated quite heavily, the latter with reference to the interplay between Shaun Buswell’s lead and Becky Gibon’s co-vocals. - Americana UK magazine

"Beat Surrender Review"

Musically a beautiful album, the band have mastered any number of different instruments from violin and viola to double bass, cello and saxophone and this in addition to the usual guitar, drums etc. The end result is a lovely blend of folk, rock, pop songs which do sound like a full orchestra is backing them.

The lyrics are incredibly sincere, soulful, heartfelt and meaningful in a traditional and modern way. They sing about life as it is from cocaine addition to love lost and even how a child feels when parents divorce. - Bear Surrender Magazine

"Leicester Bangs review"

Lilting and gorgeous and desperate for a big production job. If this album had more strings attached it could take over the world. As it is, I love the gentle poignancy of the interplay between piano and violin, underpinned by a subtly effective rhythm section. Buswell are hard to pin down but if you are into a cocktail of The Waterboys, David Gray and Belle and Sebastian swilled down with a swell of emotion and intelligence then give this a listen. As you let the melancholy wonder that is the excellent single Sleep take you in its arms, you realise that Buswell sound like everybody and nobody else. They are Buswell. - www.leicesterbangs.co.uk

"The Mag review"

I hope Shaun Buswell and his band won't sue me for saying this, but this is a nice album. Musicians usually hate that word, preferring to be called edgy, dangerous, powerful or any other more confrontational descriptions you care to mention, but in the case of 'Buy Me New Shoes' the word "nice" is entirely justified. Piano, drums, bass and additional violins caress the listener, while vocal interplay between the smooth voices of Shaun and Becky are a neat touch.

That's not to say that you couldn't also call this album provocative. 'Don't Go Wasting Time' is a clarion call against apathy and the wasting of a life, but all borne out over the sweetest of folky 6/8 grooves, while the slightly more taut 'The Drugs Are Making You Love' is passionate in its rejection of drug-induced romance. This song also features some nice rhodes and violin flourishes.

It's obvious that Buswell has a story to tell and an interesting history. The mournful 'Between the Muders and Death', with piano to the fore, and beautifully augmented by brass and woodwind, is a beautiful instrumental, building to a haunting crescendo at its climax and acting as a kind of overture for 'Sleep' which is a beautiful ballad, almost more a lullaby.

If you're a fan of modern folk or are simply wanting an anecdote to the sheer brash volume of most current music, you could do worse than give 'Buy Me New Shoes' a spin.
- www.the-mag.co.uk

"Indigo Flow review"

Belle and Sebastian-come-Stars ballads, with a gentle piano melody to open it, leading onto a song which is soft and friendly and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. It sounds a lot like Stars at point, and I loves ‘em, so I rather like this.

It’s even got male/female harmonies which sound really delicate and nice.

It’s nice. I know that’s a dirty word, but it is.
- Indigo Flow

"The Independent Live Review"

The lush orchestral pop-with-a-purpose of Swindon-born singer-songwriter Shaun Buswell sent shivers down my spine as soon as I entered the Big Top. He pulled off the remarkable trick of fronting a 12-piece group featuring a string and horn section and the vocals of Zoe Mead – the Lisa Hannigan counterpoint to his Damien Rice. - The Independent Newspaper, UK

"BBC feature on the Fringe Orchestra Challenge"

Musician Shaun Buswell likes a challenge.
In 2012, he set himself the task of building an orchestra entirely composed of people he met on the London Underground and leading them to perform at a top London venue.
This year he took the story of his Tube Orchestra Challenge to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and set himself a similar task.
Shaun set out to form an orchestra from the streets of the Scottish capital, arrange the music and get them ready to play to the public - all in just 10 days.
BBC News followed him to see how he got on. - BBC News

"Al Jazeera report of the Underground Orchestra Challenge"

An orchestra made up entirely of strangers has just performed its first concert in Britain.

The musicians were all recruited as they travelled on London's Underground train system. The team was recruited by a music enthusiast who gave up his job in London's financial district to take on the challenge.

Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan reports from London. - Al Jazeera


Let Me Love - CD single
Don't Go Wasting Time - CD single
Buy Me New Shoes - album
Sleep - CD/12" single
Breakups & Breakdowns - download single
Stitched Shoes - E.P



Summing the band and music of Buswell is an enigma in itself. Shaun Buswell is a singer/songwriter with a band larger than a football squad. He scores all the written musical parts himself but cannot read a note of music. He performs with a line-up that is in double figures and includes classical string, brass and woodwind sections but makes them play indie folk in the spirit of Captain Beefheart. It’s something akin to taking a movie filmscore and condensing it into a folky pop song.

The result of which in the last few years has seen them support or be supported by acts such as Foals, Amy MacDonald & Frank Turner, whilst completing three full UK tours, getting playlisted on MTV, reaching number 1 on the Amazon Hot 100 CD singles chart, as well as being heard on XFM and BBC’s radiowaves.

During 2012, Shaun Buswell conducted the 121212 Underground Orchestra Challenge, where he successfully formed an entire orchestra from strangers he met on the London Underground.

After a debut show at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire on 26th January 2013, members of the newly formed Underground Orchestra also perform with Buswell.

For more information, visit www.121212.org.uk.

The debut album "Buy Me New Shoes" received 10/10 and 9/10 in Rhythm'n'Booze and Whisperin' & Hollerin' magazine respectively.

"The lush orchestral pop-with-a-purpose of singer-songwriter Shaun Buswell sent shivers down my spine...and the vocals of Zoe Mead – the Lisa Hannigan counterpoint to his Damien Rice" - The Independent Newspaper, UK

‘When it comes to music charged with wistful reflection and dark emotion, Buswell are in a league of their own. They manage to weave fragile wisps of sound and heartfelt lyrics into songs that often relate to the fallen dreams and broken relationships of life.
What sets them apart from other musicians pushing these boundaries is that they manage to do it without wallowing in their own misery or being unnecessarily indulgent’ – Green Man Music

"waterboys-esque" - The Independent

"like a mix between Natalie Merchant & Grant Lee Phillips" - BBCi

"Belle and Sebastian-come-Stars" - Indigo Flow

"imagine if the Arctic Monkeys had never heard Oasis and spent all their time listening to the Reindeer Section and Seafood instead." - High Voltage

"Prefab Sprout giving Julian Lennon a go on lead vocal with the ghost of ‘Number 9 Dream’ era Dad John proudly watching from above" - Losing Today Magazine

Buswell is currently recording a new album in Sweden and performing sporadic live shows across Europe.

Band Members