Following the warm reception he received for recent double A-side single ‘Back to Work’ and ‘The Radio Years’, next week will be an exciting time for Michael Armstrong. An independent songwriter who came to the industry late after the credit crunch put paid to his ‘proper job’, he has grabbed the bull by the horns and gone all out to make up for lost time.
The result is his excellently entertaining debut album. Cramming 14 songs into its 58 minute running time, it’s an LP mostly of upbeat, acoustic rock with some lovely flourishes and ideas to bring it all to life. It’s a common problem these days for songs to set their stall out early and never deviate from the tracks, but Michael Armstrong has a way of filtering in unexpected key changes, rhythm alterations and odd flights of melodic fancy which don’t sound out of place or disrupt the flow.
It’s easy to imagine this album growing hugely the more you listen to it, but the quality is obvious from the off. As soon as the layered acoustic guitars of opener Johannesburg hit, we’re off to the races, and with some very top class musicians too.
He might be late to the party in some people’s eyes, but Michael Armstrong has more than justified his arrival with this debut. It’s out via Harbour Light Music and Right Track Records (distributed by Universal) from Monday.