"Jinnwoo is the most singular new folk talent I've heard in some time." – Independent
"Jinnwoo's gothic folk-croak is a confessional reel unspooling from his innards." – The Guardian
"A rising talent in the folk world, Jinnwoo has been setting hearts ablaze." – The Line of Best Fit
"Jinnwoo is a true original." – Clash
No one sounds quite like Jinnwoo. When the Leicester-born artist (aka Ben Webb) first debuted his curious and spellbindingly beautiful music via his debut Your Baby EP in 2016 (Cargo Records), the late Andy Gill of The Independent succinctly described him as “a singular folk talent,” with his debut album, 2016’s ‘Strangers Bring Me No Light’ (Cargo Records/GF*M Records), being equally as critically-acclaimed.
Jinnwoo now returns with his follow-up album dreamcreatures. set for release on 3rd September following his signing by Brit and Mercury winning producer Charlie Andrew (Alt J, London Grammar) to his label Square Leg Records, with Charlie also mixing the album. Charlie Andrew describes the record as “a beautiful body of work” and says of the signing “When Jinnwoo reached out and showed me his new album I was instantly smitten. His incredibly unique voice sucked me in straight away and before long I was on a journey through some of the most gorgeous and curious songs I'd heard for a very long time.”
dreamcreatures. was written within the two months of the release of his debut album in 2016. It captures that point in life where one realises they are no younger young and explores what Jinnwoo describes as: “A weird mix of nostalgia, regret and looming responsibility. It’s a lot about old relationships, in particular the relationships that can exist between men; friendship, brotherhood, love, jealousy and sex.”
However, a run of incompatible producers and ill-suited labels created in Jinnwoo a disillusionment with the music industry and a crisis of confidence which resulted in dreamcreatures. being shelved until now, and Jinnwoo spending the next five years releasing a series of critically-acclaimed records as part of traditional folk groups Bird in the Belly and Green Ribbons. It is his involvement in the former which gave new life to the long buried dreamcreatures. when Bird in the Belly member and close friend Tom Pryor “tricked” Jinnwoo into re-recording the songs. As Jinnwoo expands “Tom would set up the microphones and tell me to just play the song through a few times – he’d wander off, and potter in the studio kitchen and make us soup. He said we were just recording demos.” Tom then took the recordings away and built them up, with dreamcreatures. being a series of first and second takes of vocals, guitar and autoharp, with the rest overdubbed by Tom. “It was the way I needed to work when my confidence was as low as it was” explains Jinnwoo. It also created - alongside Jinnwoo’s distinctive song-writing and hypnotically original compositions - the paradoxical beauty of dreamcreatures. The album is at once intimate, sparse and haunted with Jinnwoo’s distinctive vocal and raw, confessionary story-telling at centre stage, yet also multi-instrumented, layered, rich and always evocative.
On songs such as the exquisite ‘Your Table,’ which yearns with the pain of unrequited love, the swell and fall of organ and strings dance in and out of the song as if from a dreamworld, and on ‘Milk’, where we hear a glimmer of the ‘gothic-folk’ of Jinnwoo’s previous releases, the unhealthy side of nostalgia is explored with intoxicating chamber-folk and eerie fairground ride melodies with Jinnwoo’s voice taking on the “wilfully jagged edges” (The Guardian) found on his earlier works. On the album’s opener ‘LondonBrighton’ the oscillating instrumentation seems to mirror the rousing emotion of Jinnwoo’s vocal delivery as he recalls the tale of a friend who mistakenly thought he was dying, or as Jinnwoo describes it, it is a tale “about modern anxiety.”
On other songs, the instrumentation seems to surge into the songs as if commanded by some outside force, breaking into the eerie bliss of dreamcreatures. and creating a heady brew, such as on the euphoric and high-spirited ‘Wonderland’ (which sees Jinnwoo pine for a previous life). On ‘The Mark’ (about a relationship that shouldn’t have happened), the urgency of the acoustic guitar strumming escalates and is met with an explosion of strings. Then there’s the wonderfully foreboding and unexpected stabs of electric guitar on ‘The New Ghosts Move’, a tale of the cruelty of ageing and no longer being “the pretty little things at the party.”
dreamcreatures. is a most beautiful return for Jinnwoo. Capturing a bittersweet moment in time that wraps us all in painful nostalgia, where doubt, regret and anxiety rear their ugly heads but our world-weary experiences make us more able to process such emotions., albeit with a newfound cynicism and sadness. Jinnwoo encapsulates this perfectly in dreamcreatures. which is the sound of an already singular artist literally and musically maturing in front of our eyes.
Under the mantle Jinnwoo, Ben Webb has released three solo records, the aforementioned debut ‘Your Baby’ EP (2014) and the album ‘Strangers Bring Me No Light’ (2016, Cargo Reords/GF*M Records), as well as a live Ozzy Wood EP (2016, Cargo Records). As part of alt-folk band Bird In The Belly he has released two albums ‘The Crowing’ (2018, Proper Records/GF*M Records) and ‘Neighbours and Sisters’ (2019, Cargo Records/GF*M Records), as well as self-titled A Capella album (2019, Matiere Memoir Records) as part of folk group Green Ribbon alongside Alistair Roberts, Burd Ellen, Fran Froote (Stick in the Wheel), Jack Sharp (Wolf People), and 1960’s Folk Legend Frankie Armstrong. He also published his first book ‘Little Hollywood’ (2020) which is a collection of scripts and illustrations.
The songs on dreamcreatures. were written and recorded by Jinnwoo, and produced and mixed by Tom Pryor in Studio 95, Brighton with additional mixing from Charlie Andrew (Alt-J, London Grammar).
dreamcreatures. is released on 3rd September via Charlie Andrew’s Square Leg Records and will be available on CD, vinyl and digitally.
released September 3, 2021
Produced by Tom Pryor
Written and performed by Jinnwoo