Micah P Hinson & The Gospel of Progress… is an assured debut from a young man the publicists would like you to believe has had a tough life. It certainly sounds like it. With a gravely, smoke-chiselled voice that recalls Nick Cave and early Leonard Cohen, Hinson sings largely of loss over desolate accompaniment from ‘The Gospel…’, members of psych-rockers The Earlies. Unlike that band, however, Hinson mines a country/folk territory that recalls Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and – fleetingly – Scott Walker. For me, the album is strongest when the music is most developed. This is most apparent on the opening two tracks: ‘Close your Eyes’, which builds from wistful keyboards and flutes into a cacophony of sound, and ‘Beneath the Rose’, which layers piano and strings onto Hinson’s rich, dark vocals. As the record progresses, a seemingly single narrative of a love affair plays out to a bitter finish, with the music getting sparser and the lyrics more and more bitter in their delivery (‘On My Way’, ‘You Lost Sight In Me’). Most importantly, Micah P Hinson has the emotional gravitas to pull this off, an increasingly rare phenomenon in contemporary music.