UK artist Kev Scott returns with a fourth studio album, “Exhausted Fantasies” (2020). Kev is joined by recording band The Cherished Times, formed by a regular number of musicians and singers who have performed with him. The long term collaborators include, Chris Holland (bass, string arrangements and production), and Steve Pellatt (drums), who along with Kev Scott (vocals, guitars and piano) form the backbone of the band. Quite frankly, a sign of a true artist is when one album transcends the previous one, and that is the case here. Kev Scott’s previous albums are all outstanding, but this…..this one is beyond excellent. The set explodes with force, packing a wallop in the early tracks and remaining strong throughout the set.
Led by the musically charismatic and literate Kev Scott, The Cherished Times develop a winning blend of alternative folk-rock arrangements and instantly catchy choruses, invoking the spirit of many of America’s musical greats. Scott is a songwriter capable of real, revelatory emotional depth, without the usual melodrama.
From the opening track, “Carry You”, you’ll find all of the required elements of a prototypical Kev Scott song here: an organic arrangement, affecting lyrics, and a singular vocal performance from Scott that harnesses only the best parts of his heartfelt delivery.
Scott’s voice aside, the album’s flair for kickass arrangements is helped along in equal part by the production work and the band’s all-round gritty performances. All of which can be savored on the guitar-driven “I Guess I’m Longin”. In the scenes The Cherished Times conjure, melancholy is never too far away, as Kev Scott grapples with woes both private and interpersonal.
Scott uses the record’s most powerful moments as a showcase for his honest, hard-earned confessionalism on songs like “Each One Has A Story”, and the brilliantly arranged “Love Let Me Know” which features stunning layers of backing vocals and harmonies.
“Mama Built A Wall” fuses a lyrically rich mid-tempo ballad with long forgotten sonic treasures that can only be found in resonating organic instrumentation. Most of the tracks on this album contain strong vocal harmonies and memorable melodies, making for a solid collection of songs which should assure that this is Kev Scott’s most accessible album ever.
“Jesus In The Window” builds into a very pleasant and powerfully melodic listen with stream-of-consciousness lyrics which are at once intense yet relaxed and features some more great harmonies.
The introspective “Dear Mr Nixon” with its slowly strummed, twangy guitars and banjos, blend with some great keyboards to complete an astutely attentive song. Simple and complex at the same time, “A Lifetime Or More” uses its incessant bluesy pulse as a concrete path for Kev Scott and his expressive vocal meanderings. Whatever descriptors you use to define its sound, it has a timeless groove.
“Lovers and Fighters” comes with plenty of earthy grit and splashes of distortion and feedback to color the deeper negotiations of Scott’s narrative. “Absolute Wonder” illustrates the power of Kev Scott’s voice when it escapes the introversion of its lower range and pushes upward to an emotional heave.
“Exhausted Fantasies” is an album that employs remarkable arrangements – both instrumental and vocal, while managing to focus with laser-like precision on our most raw emotions. Kev Scott is a talent with a rare blend of poet and musician. He clearly tapped deep into his abundant singer-songwriting talent to deliver these songs. Combined with The Cherished Times, the result is a chemistry immediately evident.