A warm but underwhelming listen from James Brooks
In the 18th and 19th centuries, well-to-do young men would often embark on the Grand Tour, an educational, leisurely journey through Europe’s centres of art and culture. On ‘The Grand Tour’, Land Observations’ James Brooks – formerly of turn-of-the-millennium, John Peel-approved motorik merchants Appliance – packs his guitar and passport and reimagines the transcontinental adventure in eight gently paced instrumentals. Recorded with only a guitar in an Alpine hideout, Brooks’ compositions are intimate and simple, overlaying cyclical patterns with a limited palette of effects. ‘Flatlands And The Flemish Roads’ evokes feelings of motion, ‘Ode To Viennese Streets’ a sense of relaxation, but strip away their titles and the concept evaporates, leaving a warm but undemanding album.