Marcus Foster Steps Out of The Shadows

by Paul Lester SOURCE The Guardian / YouTube

Today, we present a gentleman, 24 years young, with the voice of a weathered veteran of several bar wars. We've been told that he is "honest" (unlike all the other musicians around, who lie constantly) and "real" (compared to his peers, who are made out of polymers) and that there is "no one quite like him today".

Hometown: London.

The lineup: Marcus Foster (vocals, guitar).

The background: The operative word here is "quite". Marcus Foster – who has an MA in sculpture, has been mates since school with Robert Pattinson and had his music used on the Twilight soundtrack, though the last two facts are possibly unconnected – is by no means the only boy with a guitar touting his trade right now. Indeed, there are male singer-songwriters aplenty – Ed Sheeran, Ben Howard, Michael Kiwanuka, Marques Toliver, Maverick Sabre – though admittedly there are differences in scenes (Sheeran with one foot in dubstep, Howard from the Mumfords/Communion stable) and gradations of soulfulness. Foster is soulful. He's probably too bleedin' soulful, rasping like it's going out of fashion, which it did the minute Rod Stewart made his Atlantic Crossing.

Still, if you're a fan of Tom Waits, which Foster is and has been since he was a teenager singing the folky-blues in dives across London, you'll want to hear his new Tumble Down EP and forthcoming album, Nameless Path. On the EP's lead track, Shadows of the City, he gives good eerie silence, and uses his voice sparingly over silvery and tremulous guitar. By the end, he comes over all Tim Buckley circa Starsailor and starts scatting wildly, perhaps emboldened by Ben Howard who does something similar on his EP. On the title track he croaks as though to telegraph his manly sensitivity and intimacy with the notion of heartfelt expression. Towards the end he becomes rapt, lost in music, singing high and free as he goes into the mystic. You will either find it enchanting or hilarious. We're saying nothing.