For Anglo-Belgian baroque folk poet Loverman (born James de Graef) love is the fundamental building block of his artistic expression, as his stage name and debut album title explicitly attest. Yet while Lovesongs by Loverman will leave the listener in no doubt that love is all, the emotional embers at the heart of each of the record’s 11 songs – and the warm, intimate and candid atmosphere that pervades across them – also ensure that all of love is here to be experienced. “It's been informed not only by heartbreak but by love in all its different shapes, forms and exchanges,” the singer-songwriter and producer explains of the melancholic yet hopeful core at the heart of Lovesongs. “Heartbreak is the base, but the record is just as much capturing the joy and the energy you get from communing with your loved ones and your friends in an ecstatic celebratory environment, or the love you feel for humans in general. People you've never met, but when you see their tenderness and understanding it creates moments of real beauty. Like when you see on the news people engaging and helping after disasters or hardship. It touches that spirit of love too.”
Starting from the introspective, almost lonely acoustics of Another Place and the restless yearning of Into The Night, the album blossoms as a range of emotional rays and shades cascade across its delicate songs. While mixing a Nick Drake-like dreamy haze, assuringly focused vocals that call to mind a Leonard Cohen or a Scott Walker and a playfulness inspired by Dennis Potter’s surreally-tinged 1980s television series The Singing Detective (“I just adore it, it brings me in a good place,” says the songwriter of the programme his British-born mother introduced him to), Loverman has produced something that while uniquely personal is enthused by sentiments that chime universally. Tinderly and Differences Aside shuffle with a smouldering joy that resonates from communality and friendship; Candyman proves a velvety reflection on love at its most intoxicating and tempting; while the spiralling Nothing Ties acknowledges the feeling’s fragile and illusive nature as Loverman immerses himself in an ebbing and flowing emotional tide across the record.
While its unexpected hero, the acoustic guitar, sits at the heart of Lovesongs offering – like love itself lyrically – a “red thread” that runs through all the tracks, strings, backing vocals and ambience subtly enliven the album as it travels between the brutally intimate to the truly open-hearted, thanks to the atmosphere Loverman’s production creates.