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At The Close Of Every Day | Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit (Jonathon Whiskey)
Yet another day to forget. A further 24 hours to try to ease into the background. Not for the first time recently, something soothing, something moving, needs to be the order of the day. Something very much like the perfectly named, near perfectly formed, sounds of At The Close Of Every Day in fact. 'Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit' is the debut album from Dutch duo Axel Kabbord and Minco Eggersman, brought to our attention by the micro Leeds label Jonathon Whiskey.

Featuring twelve songs shadowed by dimmed hues, this record is designed to be consumed late at night, "when the most pressing questions can no longer be pushed aside". With a voice reminiscent of Mark Eitzel, Kabbord directs Eggersman's understated tunes that drift across emotional terrain similar to those previously mapped out by the former American Music Club leader. There are also tints of Will Oldham and Mark Kozelek - especially in the starkly hushed production - but it's ...Every Day's own simple way with sedated sounds and repressed regret which hangs heavily in the air.

This is intimate music, strung around the eternal singer-songwriter wells of inspiration: the themes of love, loss and longing. A slightly derivative album perhaps, and one padded-out by occasional instrumentals but it's never less than affecting, especially when the stillness barely raises itself above a murmur. A duo who somehow make the bad times feel not quite so bad; a band who help make sense of the kind of days you would usually rather forget.

Ian Fletcher
January-February 2003