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Greg Hancock - The State of My Hair (Self Release)

Star rating: 
4

A thoroughly engaging suite of highly personal songs from Devon-based singer songwriter Greg Hancock, who showers his memories with an almost tangible sense of warmth. Despite changing the names of some of the real life friends, associates and relations depicted in these stories, the characters remain alive and real to the listener. The identity of some of the characters can't really be hidden, such as Greg's own mother, who features in both the titular opening song and the album closer, Bedtime Now. Neither could there be any ambiguity in the subject of Creases and Marks, a deeply autobiographical study of the inevitable ageing process and the very song that marked the starting point for this album. Less specific characters inform such songs as Thunderbird Wine, a song which allows listeners of a certain generation to immediately relate to these almost cinematic reminiscences, bringing to mind our own particular Garys, Suzannes and Sharons from our own past, together with all the fumbling, the old railway lines and our own particular youthful tipple.

This is highly observational stuff indeed, covering all aspects of everyday life, from troubled unrequited love and eventual loss of innocence, to the ageing process and dementia, all observed with a measure of dark humour. With one instrumental, Odyssey FC, its title referring to the Odyssey Folk Club in Southend-on -Sea, Hancock provides us with a Bryter Layter moment, a perfectly timed musical interlude, which prepares us for the rest of the stories to come. By Hancock's own admission, these fleeting reminiscences are not particularly significant, but as with all our best memories, they pop up now and again when we least expect them, and like them or not, they make up who we are today. This rather seductive album should be revisited every now and again, like a good book.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky