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Everything about A Million Ways to Make Gold evokes a sense of nostalgia. The record's bold blue cover, with its thin strips of colour is reminiscent of the work of Saul Bass, or indeed the covers of old jazz LPs. The type meanwhile certainly recalls the style of Blue Note releases like Some Other Stuff by Grachan Moncur III, there's even a little stereo logo in the top left corner, harkening back to the days when things like stereo recordings and technicolour films were features to get excited about. The music itself also conjures up the same spirit, with soft shuffling drums, and bright brass common throughout the album.

Surprisingly, this is the first time The Voluntary Butler Scheme (aka one man band Rob Jones) has made use of brass instruments on record, having taught himself how to play by watching YouTube videos. There is a talent for instrumentation that really shouldn't be downplayed on this record, but unfortunately, despite The Voluntary Butler Scheme's musical aptitude, A Million Ways to Make Gold lacks the immediacy of the records it recalls.

Opening track, 'Looking for Water' with it's skiffle beat has a certain catchiness to it, but as an album opener it feels a little underwhelming. The soft, shuffling drums drag the song along with the key melody falling to short, clean guitar chords - the overall effect is an almost doe-eyed attempt at retro-pop that whilst in-offensive, isn't exactly exciting either. This theme continues into 'Quinzhee' a track that screams quirky with its musical-esque bursts of brass along with glockenspiel and ukelele. It's impossible to not think about the recent Match.com adverts, despite the fact the song itself charts the dissolution of a relationship during a long winter.

Part of the problem with A Million Ways to Make Gold is that it feels a little too perfectly posed. The brass that opens 'Honey In The Gravel Mixture' sounds like it's been directly lifted from another song, and there's a sense that you've heard many techniques a thousand times before. 'Believe' features a doo-wop style middle eight and its harmonised chorus, whilst pretty, isn't remarkable enough to stick in the memory - it's also a little disconcerting to hear the same voice echoing around you, a few different vocal styles would have added extra range.

Where the album really comes into its own is the titular track - a wonderful, and somewhat ethereal track that sees Rob Jones' vocals double-tracked so its echoes fade in and out of the mix. This is over a reverberated, muted guitar riff, euphoric brass and modulated percussion of which only the cymbals and hi-hats can be heard clearly. It's one of the few tracks that looks forwards. The other is 'The Q Word', the penultimate and, at 6:21, the longest track on the album.

It opens with a rare instance of electronic instrumentation, one that sounds like an old dial-tone, full of occasional distorted blips. There's a glockenspiel, and Jones delivers his most affecting vocal as he begs a lover to stay with him. "Say no later / for now leave it as a yes" he pleads. Unlike the other tracks on A Million Ways To Make Gold, 'The Q Word' takes its time to fully reveal itself, building layers of instruments, first electronics, then a little percussion, then guitars, louder drums and finally brass. Sounds move in and out of the picture and theres a sense of hope, and genuine emotion - one that's been lacking in the other tracks that seem to rely more on an image of a cheeky-chappy, singer songwriter than anything that feels tangible, or relatable.

Unfortunately this, and the titular track are not enough to save this record. For all the talent, there is a lack of anything truly memorable. These songs all feel like they could good pop songs, but often are left without a clear hook and feel more like a facade than anything real.

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