"David Newlyn’s last release was as part of a three-artist/three-disc line-up for Mobeer. Even among the stellar releases from Mobeer (R.I.P.) Newlyn’s work was a standout: a tightly focused EP with a very evocative quality that made it the perfect soundtrack for the transition from winter to spring. ‘Waiting Rooms’, which is Cotton Goods first release for 2011, sees Newlyn creating another collection of songs that reveal him to be a musician with an ability to create songs that are both gentle and visceral.
Previous Newlyn releases have certainly had a strong emotional narrative to them, ‘Waiting Rooms’ goes so far as to make plain that journey through its song titles. The track listing maps out a process of nearing disconnection (‘Adrift’, ‘Almost Lost Again’), to finding reconnection with the world (‘Clarity’, ‘Reconnection’, ‘Coming Back’) and then to a final song that suggests closure (‘The Last Light is Fading Fast’). As for the music itself, the first six songs of the album are an evolving series of gentle drone meditations primarily based around field recordings and synthesizers. The songs ease the listener through the emotional narrative with a very natural sense of progression.
“Clarity” serves as a particular highlight of both the album and Newlyn’s career thus far, blending what sounds like augmented guitar sounds with sampled human voices. Some of the voices are altered, including a laugh that is augmented to the point it becomes inhuman. The voices sound distant, cold, alien, and yet the beauty of the music persists. It is the albums most understated yet grandest statement. And indeed if we follow the roadmap set out by the titles, ‘Clarity’ offers the clearest demonstration of the album’s thesis that finding beauty and connection in the world can bring one back from the deepest melancholies.
From songs six to ten the album moves away from the meditative quality that permeates the first half to something that lacks flow but still retains the quality of song writing. “Coming back” is based around synthesizer swells and decay and possesses a subdued Vangelis-like quality, instantly standing out as far more dramatic than the preceding five songs. “Up on the Hill” is based around infectious guitar loops. “Not Alone” returns us to the meditative drones that dominated the first half, but again with a more dramatic bent. Closer “ The Last Light is Fading Fast” begins with digital chaos, before turning into one final gentle drone to ease the listener out of the album. Overall, the final four songs of the album are very strong but do feel less organic in their evolution than the first portion of the album.
As an album ‘Waiting Rooms’ seems to drift in its execution during its second half. But as a collection of songs, the album is a strong release where all the material is top notch. Overall ‘Waiting Rooms’ is further evidence that Newlyn is a musician with an incredible ability to create songs that are deeply evocative without ever needing to overwhelm his audience."
- Review by Brendan Moore for Fluid Radio
Discography : www.discogs.com/artist/David+Newlyn