Algernon Doll is the brain child of Ewan Grant, a Scottish musician who’s turned away from his punk roots to record a gnarled, complex folk album. Through Camomile Grant tries to come to terms with bouts of extreme anxiety and bipolar disorder, and unsurprisingly the album is often a bleak affair. Whilst the influence of singer/songwriter touchstones Jeff Buckley and Damien Rice can be heard on the more traditional tracks; the keening Styrofoam Cup, and the potent, heartfelt Feather to Fall, it’s their combination with more off kilter surprises that elevate Camomile.
At times the syncopated rhythms and unexpected passages have Grant sounding like a one man, unplugged Radiohead- high praise indeed. Son Of A Gun, Brother to None has a jerky guitar spike for a rhythm, all sharp elbows and unforgiving angles, as Grant sings, embattled, ‘waking out of breath// seems to disconnect your heart from your chest’. On I Tried he layers dense orchestral backing and finger plucked guitar into a maze of sound, a dark, foreboding forest for his voice to emerge from. Album closer Camomile begins as a final delicate shot of pain, before plunging into an apocalypse of furious strings and feedback, a shattering conclusion to a decent debut. 8/10