James Owen Fender - 'The Cloud' (Plumpton Presents) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Saturday, 07 August 2010 06:00



So the James Owen Fender story goes, the Yorkshire-born musician emailed a demo to Atlantic in late 2007 and within five minutes was invited to a meeting with their head of A&R.


Three days later Steve Lamacq was playing one of his songs on Radio 1. A record deal with Island Records quickly followed and a choice of producer laid out before him. Fender picked Jerry Finn who had worked on many Über-approved albums, from Rancid to AFI to Marvelous 3.


Suddenly shoved from a squat in London to an East Hollywood studio with Beck in the mixing suite next door, things couldn't have shone brighter for Fender.....until Finn tragically died, aged just 39. The final song of this three track affair, '5108', is the last song that Jerry Finn ever worked on making this release desirable for reasons other than Fender. That the song features piano from a legend named Roger Manning is a bonus....and yet another reason for people to check this out. The song itself, a subtle acoustic number, is a fitting tribute to Finn.


'The Cloud', the lead track of this release, is a semi-acoustic number with a warm, catchy hook that is reminiscent of both Ted Leo and The Police. The fact that Fender, despite running away from his native Leeds to the bright lights of London aged only 17, has retained his native accent is a major factor of his sound. The everyman sound of the vocals almost confirms that mass acceptance is a major possibility and 'Everyday', the song featured by Lamacq, is a future shoe-in at every student union bar and festival campsite in dear ol' Blighty.


Following the death of Jerry Finn, Fender found himself in the kind of limbo that affects many an artist - man who signed him leaves for another record company, album unable to be completed, etc - so he formed his own record label (distributed by Warner Brothers) and a full album, produced by James Kenosha (Pulled Apart By Horses, Dinosaur Pile-Up), will follow in the near future.


A name to watch out for....even without the legendary guests and producers.