There’s no grand statement on ‘Nettle Soup’, just honest-to-goodness joyful musicianship.
Words by Adam Davidson
An attempt to mould traditional songwriting into a sound fit for the digital age, Borth is what Daniel Wright calls himself while in his bedroom DJ alter-ego. The Wirral-based producer and musician began this project a few years ago, but it is fitting in this era of long empty days spent at home that Nettle Soup, the first Borth EP, has taken until now to see the light of day.
Nettle Soup is a consistently crafted piece of musical contentment. It’s a sweet blend of acoustic rock, funk bass and a little dash of jazz here and there to keep things interesting. Guitars bounce melodies off one another, as pleasant percussive loops underpin the sound. On Nettle Soup the listener is not given a harsh time, or a difficult question to ponder. This is about stress relief with primary colour melodies. Borth, when singing in his natural voice, never gets into the alto register, instead treating us to a calm delivery which is charming in its roughness.
Like many solo projects, Borth is chiefly an introspective endeavour. His songs are written directly about his experiences, relationships, and inner thoughts. On Peach O.K and Jimbo he is concerned with self-care, while he reflects on misunderstandings in the blip-candy sound world of Brioche Kiosk. Nettle Soup is a personal record in many different ways, literally as it’s a solo project, but also because it’s an open book of stories about one man’s life.
It’s the extra flourishes that make Nettle Soup all the better. Guitars are the go-to for Borth, but he has multi-instrumental proficiency, dabbling in a wide range of sounds and production tricks. There are times when the vocals are pitched to an inhuman level, as if Borth was a band of several vocalists. There’s even a synth marimba solo on the intro for Roofman’s Plan. Sometimes the mix will dip out for a second, like a live DJ pre-empting a big drop. These deft touches offer both surprise and comfort in a lush audio jungle, as little bits and pieces jump out to keep you from drifting off.
There’s no grand statement on Nettle Soup, just honest-to-goodness joyful musicianship. The music has a summery vibe, but cut through with words that are emotionally honest, sometimes about negative subjects. This duality of moods is what makes it such a good listen. You’ll come for the pleasant grooves, and stay for the soul-searching songwriting.