Album Review: Iain Robert MacLeod – Phone Recordings

Iain Robert MacLeod 'Phone Recordings' Artwork

Iain Robert MacLeod is musician and producer from Musselburgh, Scotland who founded the Honest Sound Studio, today I’ll be reviewing his first album ‘Phone Recordings which was released on March 13th 2016, as a teaser for his upcoming release later this year. ‘Phone Recordings’ was recorded, as the name suggests entirely on his phone, and is a collection of instrumentals which he says were written while busking and watching all the comings and goings. The only other thing I’d like to say before I get on with the actual review is that all credit for the album artwork goes to Rory MacLeod.

‘Meadows Strut’ has a smooth country vibe to it, twanging guitars that flow throughout the song, up and down, and despite being recorded on a phone as mentioned above it’s surprisingly good quality. Something I do like, which may or may not be intentional are the subtle background noises which lend it a very organic quality to the track.

‘Mare Street Boogie’ the previous track was slow, this one is more upbeat and engaged, but it still has that same almost country feel to it, maybe I just associate certain types of guitar with the cowboys and all that but whatever it is I like it. Sharp sliding chords, that just work so well, and also like side note, this song is amazing to listen to while working, I powered through some other work I had while listening to it.

‘Stoned Cold Winter’ changes things up, a different guitar quality and style, but still very raw and well put together, slower than the previous track, but well paced and complex instrumentally throughout, lots of activity contained within a few minutes of music.

‘Electric Slide’ another noticeable shift in tone and style, that shows this Album is as much an exploration of skill as it is a feast for the ears. It opens harder than it finishes I think, but throughout their is some strong guitar work that makes me wish I’d stuck at learning the guitar so maybe I could be somewhere near this level.

‘PK’s New Blues’ opens with a few broken up chords before it settles in a little, it’s nice, felt very real, like you were there really listening as he got set up. A lot of these tracks have that same real quality to them. I liked the melody of this track, it’s simple but just works really well, I like tracks you can just kind of chill out to, something where the only aim is to listen to it and experience it and this track is perfect for that.

‘West Coast’ another one which stretches out the open, with a few halting notes before launching in to it, but despite the similar opening, this and the previous track are very different, the previous one was lighter for a start, whereas this one has a little more weight to it. I haven’t mentioned it so far but I like instruments like the slide guitar because you don’t hear them too often in mainstream music and I love the sound they make so any track that has something like this instantly is good to me.

‘Waiting for the Big D’ has the most vibrant opening on the album, it’s also the most audibly different track on the entire album as well, and its nice that it shakes things up as we close out ‘Phone Recordings’. It’s not just good because it adds in something a little different, it’s also an impressive instrumental number, that’s fast paced but not rushed and just a nice and almost melancholic track.

So that’s what I thought of Iain Robert MacLeod’s album ‘Phone Recordings’ and you can check that out on Bandcamp. And if you want to keep up to date with him then follow him on Facebook.


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