Withered Hand - Good News (****)
album review for the skinny
By the time Edinburgh's Withered Hand opens Good News's final track with "maybe the world would be better without me", you'll want to give him a slap and tell him to pull himself together. Depression is a mental illness and that line proves Dan Willson is delusional. That's the bad news; the good news is that his debut album makes good on the promise of his two early EPs, partly because four of his strongest early songs are included here too. Supported by local musicians, including his friends in Meursault, Willson ponders his own existentialist quandaries on standouts Love In The Time Of Ecstasy and I Am Nothing. But all the self-deprecation and talk of alienation would get dreary were it not laced with dry humour. Every track features a handful of great lines, but Religious Songs is both his most quotable and most graceful number. The world is better for songwriters like Willson.