Paul Goodwin

Scars Review - Maverick Magazine

Published on Fri 13 Mar 2009

Darkness and despair articluated as few others can

Recorded and written over an eight year period, 'Scars' is a truly astonishing album that puts an awful lot of brighter lights firmly in the shade. Raw, bleeding, black hole strength emotional density, it is the very definition of uneasy listening, not least because of the inevitable recognition by the listener of best forgotten snatches of their own lives. As befits its title, Scars is a chronicle of remembered pain in all its guises. Goodwin spares nobody, least of all himself, in detailing with forensic accuracy the darkness and despair of his failed relationships. His cracked and quintessentially English voice, perpetually on the edge of breaking down, flays the skin to the bone and lacerates without fear or favour. 'She'll sell me out and God knows it'll serve me right' - Watertight, and 'your footprints mark my shoulders so' - Borderline are mere hors d'oeuvres to the last chance saloon pleading that is Losing out to Bullethead and Soaked to the Skin, Whether it's the accusation of Phosphorus Burn or the loss in Edinburgh, Scars is a catalogue of defeated self knowledge, played out over minimalist acoustic guitar and a few scatterings of accompaniment.

Throughout it all though Goodwin retains his blind faith, his belief that maybe next time it'll all work out, that the moments of beauty and love are worth the hours of despair and above all his undiminished determination to keep trying. The result is an album that never flinches from, but doesn't wallow in, the darkness of everyday life and love and hangs on to the occasional chink of light for grim death. As insights into and articulation of the dark recesses of the human condition go, Scars is pretty hard to beat.