Findlay Brown
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Findlay Brown

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"Separated By The Sea (album review, Guardian)"

Findlay Brown’s powerfully melancholic Come Home (“Maybe I’m wrong, amputate sympathy”) is hardly the obvious choice for a Mastercard advert. Then again, its TV ubiquity is predictability itself compared to the likelihood of a York-born, formerly LSD-chomping, Hendrix-worshipping bare knuckle fighter turning in an album of exquisite acoustic gems. Inviting (and shrugging off) comparisons to Nick Drake and Simon and Garfunkle, Brown isn’t just a rich voiced master songwriter but a sculptor of sound, couching his lyrics in Eno-link sonic effects. The words themselves are rife in seafaring imagery, fire, brimstone and eerie metaphors for a life lived on the edge. Love, loneliness and death play equally starring roles and titles (Losing the Will to Survive, Down Among the Dead Men) hold troubling stories. However, the beautiful simplicity of a line such as “ocean chime, forgotten rhyme” captures the siren-like, familiar yet ghostly appeal of what might be the most unlikely classic of 2007 - The Guardian

"Separated By The Sea (album review, Mojo)"


Yorkshireman’s debut sets 2007’s benchmark for gorgeous troubadour folk.

The story goes that teen thug Findlay planned to join the army so he could carry on fighting, until someone gave him acid and a copy of Electric Ladyland. But don’t expect howling psych blues here, because the soft acoustic thrum and accompanying bell-tinkling of the opening I Will (Ghost Ship) is beatific folk. Tonight Won’t Wait and Come Home follow suit, but it’s the title track’s debt to Jackson C. Frank’s Blues Run The Game that reveals Brown’s passion for the earnest beauty of an Earl’s Court folk cellar circa 1965, with that aching feeling that a whole future awaits. Tempestuous long-distance love with his Danish girlfriend is also responsible for Brown’s aching mood, though Down Among The Dead Men looks back to what might have been if it wasn’t for Hendrix and that fortuitous microdot. - Mojo

"Versus EP review (Mixmag)"

We love under-rated Northern guitar-slinger Findlay on this page at the best of times, but when he comes back with a psychedelic sun-drenched Afrobeat groover like "Nobody Cared" then frankly our feeling is that Mr Brown can do no wrong. A cracking dub by producer Brendan Lynch and the 12-minute Prins Thomas-style Balearic disco voyage "Stallions' Suite" on the flipside don't hurt either. - Mixmag

"Live preview (metro)"

If Findlay Brown immersed himself in Nick Drake and Captain Beefheart before making his 2007 debut album "Separated By The Sea", then he's been refreshing his record collection. The former bare-knuckle boxer turned poetic troubadour from Yorkshire channels the romantic melodrama of Roy Orbison, The Righteous Brothers and Scott Walker on the deliciously retro-sounding forthcoming album "Love Will Find You".

Whereas Brown's debut comprised intimate acoustic songs from the heart, here he uses grander orchestrations of classic 1950s and 1960s pop to reference his favoured psychedelia while exploring the expressive potential of his voice. Certainly, the latter comes into its own against the ringing Phil Spector-esque arrangements, while Brown's tendency to lay bare his soul is suited to the highly charged emotional pitch. The new album is released in January - in the meantime, catch this man in this intimate venue before his fame matches the size of his songs. - Metro


Don't You Know I Love You - EP (Peacefrog Records)
Come Home - single (Peacefrog Records
Separated By The Sea - album (Peacefrog Records)
Losing The Will To Survive - single (Peacefrog Records)
All That I Have - single (This Is Music Ltd)




Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
These things are sent to try us.
No pain, no gain.

Normally, we journalists are taught to avoid cliché like the plague, but to wheel out another one, they’re clichés because they’re true. And just as Findlay Brown has shown on his new album that oft-used musical phrases are nothing to be scared of, he must have considered a few frequently heard pearls of wisdom when he spent several months all but housebound after a serious road accident in October 2007.

All was going well at the time for the 28 year-old from York. His debut album Separated By The Sea had been widely hailed as the work of a major new singer-songwriting talent, and he was on his way back from another sold-out gig in London when he stopped the cab to get some money from a cash point. The driver accidentally reversed over his leg, breaking his ankle in two places and shattering his tibia.

“In a weird way, it felt like it had to happen,” he reflects, slowly sipping a Guinness in an East London pub. “I needed to slow down, stop working, and get some perspective on what I wanted to do for the next album.” You’d have thought he could have managed that without being run over by a taxi, but the more you know about Findlay Brown, the more you realise that his career path has always been anything but conventional.

As an aspiring teenage army cadet and part-time aerosol sniffer, he looked more likely to end up with a criminal record than a musical one until he heard Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland whilst tripping aged 16, and began getting into ‘60s psych and krautrock. His head comprehensively turned, he sold some old Beatles autographs his grandfather had given him in order to buy a guitar, and moved to London at 18.
Another well-worn romantic story, then. And there’s more where that came from, so you might as well suspend your disbelief for good already.

After spending his early 20s singing with several bands including the electro and krautrock influenced Boedekka, his priorities changed in 2005 when his relationship with Danish girlfriend Marie Nielsen began to suffer due to the drink and drug-fuelled lifestyle he was leading. She moved back to Copenhagen, and in an attempt to woo her back, he wrote a collection of love songs on acoustic guitar, and sent them to her. Heavily influenced by his new-found love of ‘60s folk artists such as Bert Jansch and Jackson C. Frank, they had the desired effect, and others who heard them encouraged him to seek a label to release them. Separated By The Sea was the result, a record whose immediacy and melodic charm earned it a rare 5 star rating in The Guardian, among many other critical plaudits.

Yet when it came to considering what to do next, he wasn’t content to continue ploughing the same acoustic furrow.
Laid up at his sister’s house after the accident, without his beloved vinyl collection, he began buying up music on itunes, and having already become increasingly interested in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s era of Elvis, Dion and Roy Orbison, he began to delve deeper into that era of classic pop songwriting, immersing himself in the perfect pop symphonies of Motown, Joe Meek and Phil Spector.

“I started listening to a lot of stuff which I knew so well but almost took for granted - songs you never paid serious attention to because they are so well known. Songs like My Girl, Be My Baby, Stand By Me. I start listening to them in a different way, and working out what was so great about them. I’m not saying the songs I’ve written as a result can stand up next to them, but I’m not ashamed to try and aspire to those standards.”

He made a fine start on that journey when he hooked up with producer Bernard Butler. The former Suede guitarist was most recently in the spotlight for producing Duffy’s debut album, but it was an earlier work that suggested to Findlay that they might be kindred spirits.

“I loved the stuff he did with McAlmont and Butler, and that’s why I thought he would understand what I was trying to achieve with this record.”

As it turned out, there was one important aspect which both felt the same about.
“We both agreed that we wouldn’t be worried about clichés, or doing the obvious thing at any point. If the song suggested a way to go, we went with that flow, instead of turning it on its head to make it cool in an indie kind of way. It was a case of ‘this wants to be massive, and if we want a huge horn section coming in here, let’s go for it. If it’s overblown, or if it sounds self indulgent, who gives a shit?”

That’s why it may take a while for the indie kid or folk fan’s ear to tune itself into the smoother sounds of Love Will Find You. This is an unashamedly traditional, mainstream, even middle-of-the-road record, featuring the kind of effortless, unpretentious, love songs that are all too rarely heard in the 21st century.

The booming echoes of the Ronettes in the drums of t