Album review: Joe James Boyle – Abraham Smoothe

Words by Lady Godiva

Joe James Boyle has beget a fictional double based in the wild west, his name is Abraham
. He is the ultimate outlaw who checks all the boxes: loner, gunslinger, fugitive, whiskey addicted chain drinker, his heart bleeds with resentment and revenge. The record opens with “The Ballad of Abraham Smoothe”, with keys which conjure up a proper cinematic saloon, you may as well picture the local crew, his Spanish eyed love interest and where Abraham’s enemies might be hiding, then in the blink of an eye, hear him shoot faster than his shadow. Watch out, he has a lightning fast gun hand. This record tells his rather gripping and sinuous yet endearing story. What turns a man into an outlaw? Is there a Jesse James in every fella that doesn’t want to be chained to the straight and narrow? Listen to the narrator’s crooning lament. He wears his heart on his widow-maker, In “The Ballad of Abraham Smoothe”, the latter sets the record straight. He wanted to be a dreamer but society wouldn’t let him be and corrupted him, therefore he’s been on the run and his goal is to remain uncatchable. He created a legend by defying social standards. “And his dream became real, he made Smoothe the deal” He boasts about his godforsaken status as a fugitive, is his sense of fate canny or will his lucky star desert him?

The album narrative is as sharp as a knife while his songs are seemingly stripped down, his storytelling is cleverly adorned by momentous gimmicks and catchy twists and turns. “They Treat You Like A Fugitive” gives its spaghetti western grandeur deeper resonance. He reasserts and expands his life motto here. Londoner Joe James Boyle has a knack for gun powder filled cowboy ambiances, a soft spot for sentimental guys turned villains and pens lyrics that strike a chord to invite you to his hero’s Suite Deluxe. Boyle’s tuneful and manly vocals are captivating as he tells his fictional double’s adventures, he can tell you many a tale… At the mellowest pitch in his vocal range, he may remind some of Pip Proud who was once pegged the Australian Syd Barrett, although his records came out prior to the English poet’s solo releases.

Amongst his many guns, Abe’s weapon of choice is his versatile guitar style, which follows the
plot of his story like a serpentine line. He yields his six strings at the most appropriate moments of his narrative to give the latter a potent surge of adrenaline which keeps the listener hooked. This sonic portrait makes a snazzy and enticing ode to bandit life. This is Abraham’s motto if you wish to join his crew:

” Don’t believe the bullshit
Best believe a fugitive
If you just use your initiative
You can change the narrative “

Arbraham Smoothe is out now on all major streaming platforms

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