Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. This time, we’re assessing Andrew Combs’ ‘Canyon Of My Mind’; an album of genteel singer-songwriter musings.
His third long player since his 2012 debut, ‘Canyons Of My Mind’ sees Dallas-native Andrew Combs collate a range of influences on a rather ambitious effort that sees him complement his songwriting with frequently intricate string arrangements, lending his songs an unabashedly old-school charm. An album of low-key, subtle grooves and dreamy, gently wafting string adornments, ‘Canyons Of My Mind’ is certainly indebted to a long series of classically styled singer-songwriter records, but Combs does manage to find his own niche, mostly thanks to his individualistic vocal delivery.
We’re looking at the US New West Records pressing here – there is also an EU issue handled by another label which may differ in quality from this version. The noise floor is very low on this release – important, given the often confessional, hushed nature of the music contained within the grooves – and aside from a couple of moments of very light surface noise here and there, playback is excellent throughout and allows the subtle details so important to the album to shine through uninterrupted by unwanted surface noise. Our copy sits flat on the platter throughout playback and feels sturdy in hand. Pressed on 150g vinyl, whilst it’s not the heaviest record ever it does feel solid and, ultimately, the record weight doesn’t make much of an impact to sound quality or overall performance – a case clearly made here as playback is really solid throughout and the overall noise floor is nice and low.
Packaging and presentation is quite slick on this release; housed in a single non-gatefold sleeve, it’s not the jacket itself that especially grabs attention but rather the attractive doubled sided foldout insert included. Containing lyrics to the full album as well as full general credits, it’s an attractive inclusion well printed on good quality paper, also boasting some atmospheric photography on the inner spread of the insert. The inner sleeve is a generic non-polylined deal, so that’s best off traded for something more protective – however, the inclusion of a download code redeemable in MP3 is a bonus and the main sleeve is attractive and well printed. Although made of average weight card, there is a pleasing texturing to the sleeve that lends the release a satisfying tactility, and the spine stands out well thanks to both a bold font choice and a good colour scheme.
This is a really nice release from New West Records, boasting both attractive presentation and a good pressing that allows the intricacies of Combs’ music to really stand out.