Young Pilgrim album review FEATURE

A far cry from his Busted days, Charlie Simpson releases his first solo album Young Pilgrim with a folk, acoustic feel, not unlike the stylings of Bon Iver. BritEvents' Lucy Middleton explains why this album demands your attention.

Young Pilgrim album review

By Lucy Middleton

26-year-old Charlie Simpson kick-started his music career when he joined pop band Busted, after major success, Simpson left Busted in 2005 to join Fightstar full time as the lead vocalist and guitarist.

Post hardcore outfit Fightstar received notable success and critical acclaim for their many albums, but the band decided to announce a hiatus for 2010-2011 so the members could pursue their solo careers before regrouping in 2012.

Enter Young Pilgrim, Simpson's outlet for the songs he had penned which didn't fit with the rest of Fightstar's catalogue. It is a folk-acoustic album heavily influenced by 70s Americana rock, featuring 12 emotionally-charged songs.

Simpson really took the helm with his first solo album, having written the songs himself and playing 90% of the instruments on the album recording, it really is a work of genius.

Inspired by Bon Iver, The Eagles and The Beachboys, Young Pilgrim features intricate harmonies, the rough-cut, gravelly voice Simpson is known for. Each song is said to be a wide-lens snapshot of Simpson's life growing up in Suffolk, England, with many of the songs melancholic in nature but joyous in their melody.

Young Pilgrim is a far cry from Simpson's Busted days and I think critics before me are dwelling too much in the past; we've all been guilty of embarrassing moments in our lives and if Busted is what Simpson had to do to get his foot in the door of the cut-throat music industry, who can blame him.

The album is reminiscent of the soul-searching, walking the streets alone kind of nights and will undoubtedly cause you to fall in love with Simpson's vocals and brilliant mind.

The use of layering in this album is astonishing, making the songs simple yet textured at the same time. Each time you listen to a song again, you hear something new and that is what keeps it relevant and refreshing in the ever-changing face of music.

Though Simpson is reflecting on his childhood and teenage years with Young Pilgrim, its overall sound is incredibly grown up. My particular favourites are If I Lose It, Sundown and Thorns and I encourage anyone who enjoys folk and acoustic singer-songwriter music to give this album a go; you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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