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Golden Dregs / Julian Klincewicz

The beautiful third album by the Golden Dregs, On Grace and Dignity, starts with a scene of a man going on holiday in search of his “best self”. After all, sings Benjamin Woods, “for me and me alone the sun does shine”. Our protagonist is an exceptionalist, and perhaps a little deluded. “The song came froman observation that life is often lived waiting for the holiday and not really enjoying the here and now,” says Benjamin. “It seems a strange pattern that we have.” Benjamin hails from Cornwall –a county where thousands of tourists flock on holiday, and thousands of locals could never hope of affording one – and so he grew up with a keen awareness of that gap between idealism and reality. Where his second album, 2019’s Hope for the Hopeless, plunged deep into personal pain, On Grace and Dignity looks outward to consider his home and what it means to be shaped by a place –in this instance, Truro, Cornwall’s capital, home to a rare three-spired cathedral, a peaceful river and a lot of empty shops and flimsy out-of-town housing estates. In among the personal reflections on loss of innocence and inferiority, Benjamin spins subtly interweaving narratives about survival, desperate acts of violence, loss and the limitations of community in the face of rapacious gentrification.