Nelson quintet Urban appear to be something of a democracy when you consider their songwriting credits. Over the course of their 10 song debut album, nearly the whole band contributes a song or two. Interestingly lead singer Betsy Hill is the exception. Guitarist David Turnhout, bassist Mat Charles, drummer Richard Bradley and keyboardist Anne Rijnink share the writing and add backing vocals, in some instances taking the lead.
Recorded at Bay City and StudioBox in Nelson, the tone of the album is influenced heavily by Hill’s vocals, which invoke a sense of early Marianne Faithful. The band acquit themselves well, moving between restrained folk stylings and more verbose rock manoeuvres. Turnhout’s guitar parts are especially pleasing with some deft melodic and modal touches. It is hard to single out one track but the closer Floating is something special, with a restrained backing and a well-crafted lyric, choral backing vocals and refreshingly melodic lead it sits comfortably next to the other highlights on the record like Cynic and New Song. When a band has so many accomplished writers, players and vocalists on board we can hope for the best, and this is a great start.