Boo Hewerdine “Understudy” Album Review
Music comes in many guises. There is music that takes you on a journey. There is hugely personal music. There is music that tells you a story. “Understudy”, the new album from singer-songwriter Boo Hewerdine, is all of these rolled into one wonderful, reflective collection of songs. Conceived and written in his Glasgow flat during lockdown, this new offering is the latest in a career that has spanned over four decades.
Now, researching the album and the inspiration behind it, it would be fair to expect an album filled with sadness but that is not the case. Written during what Hewerdine describes as a strange and turbulent time in his life. From the loss of his father to falling in love with home life to making new remote friends, it should be unsurprising to discover that “Understudy” is a reflection of that period written in the most wonderfully emotional way. Musically, “Understudy” is a gentle, delicate collection of songs and the way he tells his stories on songs like “Magnets” and the heartwarming album closer “Afternoons” warms you from the inside out.
Tender and wistful, Hewerdine’s voice adds a calming effect to the already gentle music and, as it all washes over you on tracks like “Dream Within A Dream” and “Ancestors”, you will find yourself getting helplessly lost in the songwriter’s world. Of course, given the subject matter inspiring the songwriter, there is a heart-wrenching element of emotion pouring through the music. Tracks like the piano-led “Someone Else’s Blues” hit you in that way that brings a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat. Surely, these are the signs of a truly incredible songwriter of which Hewerdine most certainly is.
Albums like “Understudy” prove that music doesn’t have to be hard-hitting to be powerful. They just need to come from the heart and if there is one thing you can say about Hewerdine and this album is that it is an album that couldn’t be more honest and straight from the heart if it tried. A truly beautiful record from start to finish.