British singer-songwriter Paul Roland, has remained a cherished figure on the goth and psychedelic pop periphery for 40 years, spinning musical tales of Victorian villains, eccentric Edwardian inventors and the supernatural against a backdrop of gothic rock, psych pop and dark folk, since 1979. This year he returns with "1313 Mockingbird Lane" his 20th album, released by Italian label Dark Companion. His last album was "White Zombie", released in 2016.

The album contains 13 tracks with the name of the album being taken from the cult 60s television show The Munsters, which was the address of the mansion where the family lived. The opening track, "Salon of the Senses", is a great example of Roland’s songwriting, a dreamy calm psychedelic piece. Where on "My Next Life" we have a quirkier Sixties pop with xylophones and trippy guitars. Paul’s characteristic voice is in great form, still able to captivate the listener to his storytelling. After the rhythmic "When Chet Baker Sings" with its nice acoustic guitar strumming and xylophone work, things speed up on "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" where we have the garage punk moment of the album. The trip to the Sixties continues with "She’s A Mind-Reader" while with the rockier "Voodoo Man" the electric guitar comes to play bringing a more rhythm & blues feel.

Roland returns to his acoustic guitar for "Joe Strummer Said", a nice song tribute to the late Joe Strummer of the legendary punk band The Clash. On the stripped down "Another Ingmar Bergman Interlude" we only have Paul’s subtle vocals and his lush acoustic guitar playing. He returns to his quirky Sixties pop on Little White Lies" and "Won’t Go Surfin’ No More" which is also enhanced with Hammond organ. On "She’s My Guru" and "Summer Of Love" we have more acoustic tracks which have some folk elements. The album closes with "1313 Mocking Bird Lane", which after a fairly long drum intro, burst into a 60’s garage songs with a great groove, winking an eye to the cult television show from which it is inspired.

Roland has a unique gift for song writing unlike anyone else. His highly literate lyrics, often macabre themes and strong melodic gift has attracted an increasingly large and loyal cult following while his proudly independent ethos has ensured he has remained a cherished niche artist. With "1313 Mockingbird Lane" he manages to deliver once again a lively great piece of work which sits nicely with the rest of his long discography.

Review by Nick Drivas.