The name Peter Mulvey doesn’t exactly sound like the archetypal rock ‘n’ roll frontman, or the outlawed country type who endears himself with his rags-to riches-to rags again tales. He sounds more like a mortgage advisor at your local bank. But don’t be fooled – Mulvey, whilst not sounding as cool Bob Dylan or Eric Clapton, knows how to play.
Silver Ladder is his first album in five years, but a lot has changed in that time. Introspection and hardship are the order of the day, but with a little help from a few friends (including past members of Dylan’s touring band), Mulvey is back.
The songs are short, almost postcard snapshots of a bigger picture, but this all makes for an attention that is keenly held. Mulvey’s style is acoustic folk pop with some low rumbling vocal flair that conjure thoughts of Mark Knopfler singing over gentle country tunes.
The songs are decent enough, but do suffer from a lack of impact at times, and a little more variation would help elevate some of the songs from being more than just a piece of the furniture. Fans of singer/songwriter based folk will find enough to enjoy here, but a lack of stand-out tunes makes this a little harder to digest for the casual listener.
Given he has been away, it’s not a bad return, but it’s not likely to set the world on fire. Songs like Where Did You Go? have a rousing spirit that works in Mulvey’s favour, and Silver Ladder is by no means a bad collection of songs. Next time a couple more hooks and some bait to draw the listener in wouldn’t go amiss.