Label: Idle Hands (Digital) Release date: 16/08/10 Myspace It's a tough fight for new folk acts to distinguish themselves. There are heaps of folk singers, and they all sound pretty much similar to each other. Sure there are slight variations in genres, instruments and attitude. They might have an exceptional voice, or a brilliant way with words, but all in all without close attention paid by the listener to the music, it can just get lost in a sea of people singing over quiet music, filed under “just another folk singer”. Anyway, what I'm trying to say in that pre-amble is that Cambridge based singer Nicholas Stevenson, has entered into the constant struggle to stand out from his peers. How can his first 'proper' release, EP The Aeroplane Darling, stake his ground firmly in the scene. Nicholas does not have an exceptional voice, it's nice enough not to put anybody off, but he's no Antony Hegarty (if you're into that sort of thing). But he's not going to be crossing lyrical swords with Jeff Mangum or Joanna Newsom either. But, despite this, The Aeroplane Darling is a good EP, and I've certainly enjoyed my time with it.The reason behind this lies in Stevensons ability to use pathos to influence his audience. While his voice is not the most beautiful tool in the shed, he has an innate ability to transmit great amounts of feeling. The easiest comparison to Stevensons music, would probably be The Wrens masterpiece, Meadowlands. The two records both swell up emotion, through the singers voice, and the music excellently. The music has lots of elements, and depth to it, but it's not really noticed, Nicholas takes centre stage, and the attention of the listener, and he holds it very well. TAD, however, fails to bring in the catharsis that Meadowlands had. Nicholas brings up the emotion to tipping point, and then it just somewhat fades away, and falters. It's good, but not quite good enough. But whatever, because Nicholas Stevenson makes good, and completely pleasant melodic folk, and it's all very well and good. He doesn't really have to break terrifyingly emotional and brilliant ground, because that's not really what people come to folk for. It rolls along very nicely in the background, and has enough emotional and musical depth to hold up when closely examined. It's a very good early effort from the young singer, and if he continues in this vein he may well push himself above the parapet and into recognition. Photobucket