Single of the week: John Myrtle – Get Her off my Mind review

by Chris Hatch

On the face of it, John Myrtle’s latest single doesn’t feel too much of a far cry from his work on 2019’s Here’s John Myrtle EP – seeped in the pastoral nostalgia of the 70’s folk scene, and with the elegance and subtlety of classic songwriting, Get Her Off My Mind is Myrtle’s attempt to shake himself free from the allure of an anonymous love.

But while Get Her Off My Mind shares similarities to the jilted paranoia of previous tracks like Foggy and Beware Of Love, Myrtle seems to have spent the last year honing his craft – his latest single is a fuller, more rounded piece of work – with the addition of a few swells of strings this could be straight from Love’s Forever Changes. The tendrils of Myrtle’s trademark, chorus-drenched acoustic guitar gently float through the air like the scent of incense, and his Al Stewart-a-like voice has that familiar, soft naivety to it, but the structure of the song is more complex, and more interesting than anything we’ve heard from him so far.

Myrtle has a knack for simplicity – his lyrics are literal, his songs are straightforward, and with an organic, natural production, you often wonder how they haven’t been around for years. On Get Her Off My Mind, however, he takes the first tentative steps towards tweaking his take on things – structurally and musically, this is some of his best work yet, and lyrically it contains an early contender for couplet of the year – ‘I really shouldn’t care that she follows me everywhere/From the cobbled streets of Rome, to the cotton sheets of home’.

Get Her Off My Mind is a sweetly nostalgic hit of melancholy that finds Myrtle still happily in the wheelhouse of 70s folk-pop, but digging deeper into his potential as a songwriter.

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