You've heard of Bill Ryder-Jones, right? Ex-guitarist from the Coral, recorded with the Last Shadow Puppets, collaborated with Alex Turner, Graham Coxon etc etc. Well whether you have or you haven't, he's a pretty great guitarist. You can probably imagine the shock then, when his first solo excursion came in the form of 2011's If… consisting entirely of intricately set instrumental scores for some sort of imaginary film experience. His second effort A Bad Wind Blows in my Heart, takes somewhat of a step backwards in complexity, albeit with more overall components involved. It's more of a back to basics singer-songwriter album, put together with a 20/20 eye for composition.

There's a well practiced illusion glossing over the entire record, in that the finished product sounds unbelievably simple. Yet this isn't the same sort of simplicity we see with bands like the xx or Stubborn Heart, it's much more traditional than that. There are soft guitars meandering slowly through gracious flows of percussion, as drifts of piano keys wash over the surface. Hushed, and often heartbreaking lyrics are ushered into proceedings and at first, everything seems quite basic. After a few plays of the album, you begin to appreciate the beauty of the arrangements, and realise that the structure of these tracks is undoubtedly the reason for their success.

If pigeonholing is your thing, there would be an argument to prop this one up loosely next to the down tempo folk-rock pile, sitting somewhere between Fleet Foxes and Tim Burgess. However, whilst that wouldn't be an outrageous call, I'd say Ryder-Jones' sophomore LP would sit more comfortably on top of his previously attributed Alex Turner project, Submarine. Similar to Submarine, A Bad Wind... has a quintessentially British feel seeping through its duration, and the style of songwriting has notable comparisons. The lyrics often call on past childhood experiences, and whilst the tone of the vocal doesn't deviate very much, the delivery holds a certain melancholic comedy at times. "But you're just like each other, so you belong together" he sings on 'You're getting like your Sister', a tale of being with a girl then falling for her sister. It's this sort of honesty which really connects, and when distributed with such a softly spoken vocal the songs don't struggle to become quite hypnotising.

The straight forward nature of the album doesn't do it any harm whatsoever, yet a lack of any major shift in tempo doesn't do it many favours. If you're listening environment offers the chance for you to become entranced (a requirement the locality of Stoke-on-Trent often falls short on) then the gentle sounds can take you quite far away, yet at certain times of the day which throw up certain circumstances, the record can leave you feeling a little shortchanged. There aren't any notable effects present at any stage - which is no bad thing - but a couple of gear changes wouldn't go amiss. There's a wonderful sprinkle of change towards the end of 'Christina That's the Saddest Thing', and the pace wavers slightly on 'There's a World Between Us', but the differences aren't enough to sate the appetite. It's just that sometimes you'd rather get to a destination via the quickest path possible rather than taking the scenic route.

That said, when given time to unravel and spread out, A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart is a luxurious listen. The solemn accounts of squandered innocence nestle wonderfully atop the layered melodies, the final production focusing on clarity and polish. The album was conceived in Bill Ryder Jones' bedroom back in Liverpool, and that personal authenticity is communicated at all times. The strength of the sound lies in his ability to tell a story which sounds completely tailored to his experience, yet so easy to relate to. The album could do with a couple more stand out moments both musically and vocally, however, as far as singer-songwriter albums go, this one stands out a mile.