'The Shadowed Planet’ is the debut album from 18 year old Wiltshire-based singer songwriter Jordan Whatley, recorded in just four hours and comprising of nine tracks. It’s an organic piece of work featuring just voice and acoustic guitar with the occasional second-guitar overdub, the songs revealing a growing talent for making the most out of simple, good old fashioned musical ingredients. Demonstrating a cross-generational range of influences are opening numbers ‘The Brave I’ and ‘II’, displaying shades of Dylan, the Levellers and Frank Turner while lyrically dealing in poignant anti-war sentiment. Often the music moves towards acoustic folk territory, but vocally there are clear signs of American rock influences.
He doesn’t write just for the sake of it, instead he uses music as an outlet for his thoughts, memories and observations while gradually trying to piece together his own sound out of his influences. The title track and the brightly upbeat ‘Alternative Point Of View’ have a sound reminiscent of those great acoustic Oasis b-sides, while the autobiographical ‘Memories’ invites you into the mind of Whatley as he recalls his not-long-gone school days. Highlights ‘Tears On The Glass’ and ‘Go Home Tonight’ show his flourishing knack for a catchy melody, the latter delivering a singalong chorus, while ‘The Child With The Troubled Mind’ and the 7 minute closer ‘The Homeless Man’ take the lyrical focus to more thought provoking places.
This is just the beginning, but a promising debut effort that suggests there’s plenty more to come from Whatley and many more musical avenues for him to explore. 3.5/5