Chad Valley’s Hugo Manuel is back with his sophomore album - an exploration in identify and a return to the places that comfort us, especially when we return a different person.
The record was written between London, where he lived for years with his long-term girlfriend, and Oxford, the town that he came home to when their relationship ended. That painstaking transition is evident across the album’s nine tracks, perhaps mostly on slow-burners 'Labasa' and 'Seventeen.' The former of which is the namesake village in Fiji where his grandmother was born.
Unlike his previous material, but embodying the spirit of this batch of music, Hugo’s voice appears higher in the mix and rinsed clean of effects on most tracks. Similarly, the production is starker, providing Hugo the space to do more with less. Working with producer Joel Ford, the ethos of stripping away everything that’s not essential is apparent.