Son of the Smith is the debut album from young Southampton based singer-songwriter Sean McGowan, and it’s an impressive debut for such a young artist.
By Jennifer Dyas
Sean McGowan opens his debut album, Son Of The Smith, with the seventy-two second acoustic, poetic track Mind The Doors, before moving us on with Cuppa Tea, which has a contrasting full band, alternative folk sound. Romance Ain’t Dead has a catchy chorus that is accompanied by a subtle brass instrument section, giving the song a nice, upbeat edge. Sean then delivers a more mellow feel to the album by bringing in Skin & Bones (& Blood & Moaning), which is another acoustic track.
Porky Pies picks up the pace a little by cheerfully digging at the dishonesty of commercialism in Sean’s usual scornful and mischievous style. These songs flit between traditional folk and a more modern style, giving the album a powerful edge whilst conveying Sean’s intended passionate views. However, there are also more placid and emotional tracks on the album such as Oh My Days. Another short track, Mind Your Head, rants its way into the beautifully touching Springhill. The longest track on the album (at over seven minutes long) is the super relaxing Local Boy, which eases us into Autopilot – is equally as heavenly with its gentle electric guitar parts. Life Has A Way is Sean, again, perfectly and acoustically wearing his heart on his sleeve. We then have the the wonderfully optimistic Off The Rails before the album closes with Mind The Gap. This brings some of the themes within the rest of the album together with the message that the insensitive culture of urban life, on public transport in particular, can be improved if we individually take the time to treat others better.
It is a brutally honest, but also positive, track to end the album with. With Sean accentuating his cockney accent and clever rhyming slang lyrics to highlight the stories being told, along the familiar sound of a Jamie T vibe, Son Of The Smith is an album that is likely to finally gain Sean McGowan more mainstream followers and the recognition he deserves as a musician.