With each single an embodiment of warmth and compassion, any indie-folk fan with a semblance of self-awareness will want to make Allan Hill’s sophomore album, Oxford, their aural home.
In the same vein as Elliott Smith, Adrianne Lenker (Big Thief), and Sufjan Stevens, the album which was officially released on June 10th, is profound in its delicacy. Consisting of little more than subtly warm synths, banjo, fingerpicked guitars and quiescently revealing vocals, the release aids just that; the release of every frustration our isolated age has imparted.
With finding resilience being an overarching theme, which ebbs through the nine-track release, by the time Goodbye Blue Monday rolls around you have a confidant in the Canadian artist.
Starting with the single, Angell Woods, which was recorded in one take in the woods, it is all too easy to ease yourself into the enveloping accordant resonance of the LP. Before track two, This Time of Year cuts to the bone with the precision of the artist’s ability to allude to weather-triggered emotion that words alone can never explain.
The sepia-tinged melodicism of the title-single allows the fact that Hill only picked up a guitar during lockdown almost unbelievable. As simple as the light production, which contrasts the heavy lyricism, may be, there’s a tenacity to the rhythm, allowing it to feel as natural as breathing.
Here is what Allan Hill had to say on his sophomore release:
“Oxford delicately documents the process of starting over and coming to terms with solitude, guilt, and inevitable change in real-time. Impermanence is a common theme. Empty stretches of highway, late night phone calls, decaying suburbs, violence, tender conversations and flora and fauna are all intertwined to create an intimate yet isolating universe.”
Review by Amelia Vandergast