NOTE: The Fosca review below is not by me as the author-tag suggests, it’s by Jack Neale, the human dynamo who edits The Horse, to which you must now go. He writes thoughtful album reviews and high-quality film ones too, but he’s not a full-time member of the NYLPM team (mind you, he should be), so hence the credit clash below.

FOSCA – “Nervous, London” EP (EP, available here)
Dickon Edwards always had, to stoop to a rather hackneyed comparison, rather more in common with Richey Manic than being his exact namesake – he barely strummed a note for Orlando, leaving the music to Tim Chipping and those other two blokes who looked like removal men but played like angels. One always imagined the technical demands of proficient guitar-playing, record production and especially lead vocals to not really be his style. It’s a suspicion confirmed by Nervous, London which, while not without several glimmers of his unique style, is pretty near to a bad record.

“File Under Forsaken” is first, and already it’s clear what’s been on Dickon’s stereo – although, unlike Tom, he hasn’t felt the need to battle his love for Belle & Sebastian. Taking the slow-building concentric circles of “…Modern Rock Song” and grafting on a tune that’s half “I Know Where The Summer Goes” and half the theme from “The Likely Lads”, it’s nine minutes plus and a would-be wall of sound epic. Trouble is, the singing’s weedy and bang out of tune (to put it mildly – there’s some fairly desperate multi-tracking that doesn’t nearly save the day), the guitar is halting and amateurish, and the production is unbearably tinny. The last two minutes, which aims for a “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” massed voice finale, sounds like 400 deaf people moaning into rolled-up magazines.

Oh well. On to “He’s No Help” – and things look up. Tight, cheeky guitars and a winking, shimmying tune, and a lyric about someone who, “in my opinion”, wants phasing out. Gloriously contrary, with some typically showy wordplay (“He’s no fun/But that’s clearly the lure/Living dull but secure/Is as good as a cure/For the demure”). Unfortunately it’s all sung by a woman called Val Jones, who has a deeply unattractive foghorn voice that tramples all over the tune and everything else.

“The Followers” is track three, a forgettable folky throwaway with Val Jones again on bellowing duty, and sub-par lyrics (“Optimism should be a fashion accessory/If necessary” – huh?).

So that’s it, then? Well, no. I’ll be hunting down Fosca’s forthcoming EP with undiminished verve. Firstly, because this time Dickon would appear to have both a producer and a “musical director”, praise the lord. Secondly, because as anyone who reads his diary knows, he’s a true original, someone who I sincerely hope and believe may still produce more life-changingly good work. Thirdly because there’s just enough here to go on – he’s still writing autobiography as strangely glamorous as “Like some hapless child actor/Whose life hit zenith pre-twenties/You’re doomed to muttering in cafes/Caked in, slept in foundation”. Perhaps the most exciting thing about Nervous, London is that since branching out on his own, he’s let himself off the leash, becoming even more immersed in himself.

Long may he run. Let’s put this one behind us.