Awake (Zero Hour, 1998 - Appleseed, 2001) and
The Confessions of St Ace (Mammoth, 2000)
veered towards cheerful pop,
albeit without surrendering his knack for
infectious melodies and erudite tales (Window Seat).
On top of those, songs like
Your Ghost (Moog, triangle) and Burn (cigarette lighters)
also feature eccentric arrangements.
Confessions is even poppier and looser
(the opening one-two punch of
Humble Bee and She's A Piece Of Work, plus
You in Spite of Yourself)
and tunes like
Bad Dream Baby, I'm Wrong About Everything and
Goth Girl push it to the brink of Brit-pop.
However, the real gem could be Too Much Into Nothing, a touching
confession in the folksinger vein, whereas Our Lady Of The Highways
is an affectionate tribute to redneck music.
The Man With No Shadow (Mammoth, 2002) boasts a formidable singalong,
Sluts, and a set of pop ballads
(Negative Love, Nothing At All, It Stays)
that would make Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson jealous.
The pop ballads prevail on Adam's Apple (DRT, 2004), but the likes of
Pull and Negative Love don't do much to make this album more
listenable that the Beatles' Let It Be. The only captivating experiment
is Sussex Ghost Story, a collaboration with avantgarde composer
His first novel, "Misfortune", was also published in 2004.
After publishing two novels, Wesley Stace returned to his musical persona
John Wesley Harding for
Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead (2009), backed by the
Minus 5, but it was another weak work.
Backed by the Decemberists
Decemberists and Peter Buck of
R.E.M., Harding has a nice conversation with
the listener in The Sound of His Own Voice (2011), and is occasionally
witty and entertaining, but not too musical.
His erudition and wit redeem
the folk-rock lullaby Uncle Dad,
the dejected ballad I Should Have Stopped,
the satirical novelty There's a Starbucks Where the Starbucks Used To Be,
and the grand finale of The World in Song.
Folk-rock music for the social-network generation.
Wesley Stace (2013) was even more somber meditation, and even more
introverted, mostly about his own aging.
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