I've been listening to the album non-stop for three days now, and I still love it. It Gets Worse at Night is Gareth Icke's debut effort, and it's the kind of album I want to hear every time I'm hoodwinked into taking a chance on the Next Big Thing; real and compelling without a lot of pomp and posturing.
When I first stumbled across Icke, I was surfing through the endless stream of band pages on MySpace, hoping to find something new to get lost in. Like most music lovers these days, I find myself spending more time scouring the bins for something good than actually listening to good music. It's made me a little cynical... and then I found him (or well, MySpace drew us together).
The tracks on his page were simple live recordings that were haunting and powerful, and I was caught by a song called "We Hide in Caves." The song was fragile and compelling in its forlorn echoes and strangely beautiful desolation.
I don't generally go in for folk, but, well, sometimes you just need a respite from all that death metal/goth/emo/grindcore/postpunk/new-new-new wave passing itself off as youthful passion these days, and frankly, I was impressed.
The twenty-something singer hails from Ryde, a small seaside resort town on the Isle of Wight in England and the songs contain the kind of straight forward and humble lyrical landscapes that fit with such surroundings.
Six months, a record label (Icon), and some time in the studio (with Dan Swift who also recorded Snow Patrol, Aqualung, and Kasabian) later, and what came out was It Gets Worse at Night, a masterful transformation of those soulful acoustic ballads into a well crafted pop record that didn't loose any of its heart; though, admittedly, I'm still a bigger fan of the original stripped down verson of "We Hide in Caves."