Review: In Earnest – Self Titled.

This week sees the release of the debut from In Earnest, who release their debut record on Wednesday. The band bring together six tracks that explore, mental heath, nostalgia and being in the middle of hope and hopelessness and with these six tracks they do it incredibly well. You can find out more about the band here.

A band that delivers powerful emotions throughout the record, In Earnest here create melodies that are packed with feeling and lyricism that is raw and explores the mind and life as they know it. Tracks such as ‘Put Me Under’ are perfect examples of this as the band combine sombre melodies that are delivered by some fantastic guitar work, with lyricism that tells a story and feels heavy with its meaning. 

As the record continues, this band embrace this sound and continue their high standard however I get to see the band explore their sound too. Tracks such as ‘Fables’ give us something different from the band as the sound becomes frantic and delivers a dramatic end to the track, delivering the message of the song perfectly, the frustration driving through the song. 

An excellent EP that showcases this band’s talent – it’s a debut worthy of so much praise as this band delve into themselves to give a record that really feels so much with melodies that build on that to perfection.

Review: Elesa Marmo – Clear Blue EP.

Elesa Marmo recently released her new EP, Clear Blue. Just beginning to grow her fanbase (which if this is anything to go by, will be done pretty quickly) Marmo makes some awesome tracks on her debut record. You can give a listen to the EP now in full through Spotify here.

Marmo’s vocal is crystal clear. A stunning vocalist from the moment this EP begins, Marmo has a way with words that is delivered by this delicate tone. Tracks such as ‘Summer’s Over’ in particular highlight those vocals but also the emotion in her voice that delivers these honest words in all their brilliance.

Partnered with these vocals are some lovely melodies. Keeping it simple with acoustic melodies on tracks such as ‘Swimming Pools’ which highlights her soft, sweet tone, the guitar melodies really do sound just right on this record. The guitar work just works with the mood of the EP so well and makes for a consistently great sound.

A superb debut from Elesa Marmo, this record is such a fantastic start from the singer/songwriter where her voice delivers poignant lyricism and perfect melodies that harmonise just right. If Acoustic is your thing, you need to hear this EP.

8.5/10.

Review: Melanie Crew – Midnight Sounds.

Melanie Crew recently released her EP, Midnight Sounds. a singer and musician from London, writing acoustic, Crew spent 10 years playing classical clarinet then turned her attention to her guitar, and has spent the last few years writing songs inspired by musicians such as Kathryn Williams and Elliott Smith. You can listen to the EP here.

Crew has a stunning voice. A crystal clear vocal that delivers with some beautifully honest lyricism which shines from the start of the EP. The emotion and storytelling of her writing is the thing that gets your attention, particularly tracks such as Visions which is a short but bittersweet track on Midnight Sounds that grabs your heart.

The melodies that Crew creates with just an acoustic are just as stunning. The Place I Knew is a great example of this where the easy guitar with percussion really highlights the strength of the melodies she creates on this record. Midnight Sounds is a record packed with beautiful, chilled out melodies that harmonise with Crew’s melodies perfectly.

Melanie Crew releases another stunning record, if you love acoustic work done gorgeously, this is your EP.

Review: Melanie Crew – Further Away EP.

Melanie Crew recently released her new EP Further Away which you can find now through Bandcamp. Following up from her first EP, Until The End, Crew comes back with some fantastic acoustic melodies, these being heard recently on BBC Radio 6 and local radio stations and it’s not surprising why.

Crew illustrates with ease on this EP the quality of her voice on this record, she has such a lovely tone on Further Away, with a softer sound to her voice that really works with the melodies throughout the record. The timing of the melodies is impeccable and Crew shows that strength on this record when needed particularly on tracks such as Ghost.

The lyrics are honest and poetic throughout and makes for a very human sound on Further Away, her voice really giving those words real power on these tracks that work in harmony very well on this record. Crew really delivers particularly on tracks such as All That I Want, where her vocals really blend with the melodies perfectly, creating one of the highlights of this EP for me.

Further Away is a nice listen, with great acoustic melodies and vocals that really shine throughout this record, Melanie Crew really accentuates her strengths on this record with ease, those guitar sounds really working to her voice from start to finish. Highlights for me on this record are All That I Want and opening track, Bring You Back, however this EP really works well together and makes for a great listen.

8/10.

Review: Seth Lakeman – Ballads Of The Broken Few.

Seth Lakeman returns this Friday with album, Ballads Of The Broken Few. The eighth album from the songwriter and musician, it has a lot of potential, produced with Ethan Johns whose worked with musicians such as Ryan Adams. Lakeman shines here and you can see the video for Meet Me In The Twilight, where he displays just how here.

Being a multi instrumentalist really works for Lakeman on this record, blending viola and guitar brilliantly on these tracks throughout, creating a very genuine vibe to the record – the simplicity works for this album, really highlighting the voices and the melodies Lakeman creates on this record.

The vocals are powerful and blend well with the vocals of Wildwood Kin who bring some incredible harmonies to this record that work with Lakeman’s, particularly on tracks such as Fading Sound, that really work in the background of the song, and adds another brilliant layer. Lakeman has some great writing too on this record with seven original tracks on this new album, including title track, Ballads Of The Broken Few, which live is going to be a treat with an infectious chorus and a great beat that really makes for one of the stand out tracks on this album.

Ballads Of A Broken Few is a strong record, with wonderful melodies that really work to Lakeman’s voice and that of Wildwood Kin who work so well on this album and really are quite the find for Lakeman who uses their vocals so well on this album, Innocent Child certainly makes this clear and so does Fading Sound. Lakeman really does has some great tracks on this record, some songs call feel out of place in places, however this man can craft a record and it really does show on Ballads Of A Broken Few. Highlights for me are Innocent Child, Ballad Of A Broken Few and the cover of Anna Lee.

8/10.

 

Review: Jenny Gillespie – Cure For Dreaming.

JGJenny Gillespie releases her latest record, Cure For Dreaming this Friday via Narooma. Bringing in themes around mysticism and romance, Cure For Dreaming has been acclaimed stateside and now has it’s UK release. You can listen to current single Dhyana By The River through Soundcloud here.

With some excellent melodies working throughout that create some standout grooves, tracks such as No Stone in particular get your attention for those lilting guitars and nice grooves that really capture you on this record. The subtle piano work  from Jamie Edwards on tracks such as His Voyage Innocent creates a great foundation for the track and the twinkly sound of Pain Travels makes for some great listening too, really complimenting the sound of the record.

Gillespie’s vocals have an incredible gentle quality to them that harmonises greatly throughout the album with the melodies she has created. Last Mystery Train in particularly for me really accentuates those vocals, a soft, gentle sound that works perfectly with the melodies. Involuntary Sway has some excellent vocal layers that really work with the uplifting sound of the song and makes for one of my favourite songs on this album – it really displays the best of what Jenny Gillespie can do on Cure For Dreaming. The vocals layers appear again on His Voyage Innocent too, and it works incredibly well.

Produced to a fine finish and highlighting the best of what this musician does, Cure For Dreaming is a great album that deserves the praise it has been gaining since its release. Creative with melodies and the use of vocals, this is a fine record from a group of very skilled musicians. Highlights for me on this record are Pain Travels (Chakra Huckster), Last Mystery Train and No Stone.

Review: Ray Rocket – Do You Wanna Go to Tijuana?

ray rocket coverRay Rocket, the solo project of Ray Carlisle of Teenage Bottlerocket released his debut solo album ‘Do You Wanna Go To Tijuana?’ through Rise Records last Friday. You can see the video for the title track right now here and the band will be on Warped tour throughout the Summer.

Full of awesome acoustic melodies that sort of shouldn’t work with the more punk lyricism on tracks such as Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You) Bringing in latin melodies and some really nice grooves throughout the record, Tijuana is certainly the inspiration of this album and it makes me wants to visit as soon as possible, with sunny sounds galore.

The writing is strong throughout this record, Ray Rocket knows how to tell a story throughout this album, it feels like very genuine from the moment it starts, as he recounts memories throughout this album and does it beautifully, not leaving the tracks with a typical formula, Rocket really has a unique way with writing but bringing those choruses too. Tracks like Pet Sematary for example really are an excellent example of this on this record. His vocals sound great, and compliment the melodies well, even though in places it feels so contradictory.

Bursting with fantastic melodies and some poetic lyricism, the album works great together and makes for an amazing listen – I’m a big fan of acoustic work and this is some of the most interesting innovative guitar work I’ve seen, blending different styles and unique lyrics that only Ray Rocket could create, with big hooks and an autobiographical account of love and enjoying life. Highlights for me on this album are Radio, Rebound and Nothing Else Matters (When I’m With You) bu if you like acoustic and punk, this is the record for you.

8/10.

Review: Ashley Riley – All The Pretty Things.

Ashley Riley last week released her album through Noisetrade recently, All The Pretty Things, and what an album it is. Creating alternative folk, the singer from Decutar, Illinois creates some stunning melodies and matches them with perfect vocals on this her second album. You can listen to All The Pretty Things right now on Noisetrade here.

Riley’s writing is very natural, and it feels effortless on this record, with some nice choruses and with such an elegant voice, it sounds amazing throughout the album, tracks such as Love Shark have great choruses but this also the case on tracks such as Lie To Me, which is slow, but a song that is ready to be stuck in your head.

A way with melody from the moment she plays her first string on All The Pretty Things, Ashley Riley is an acoustic dream to listen to as she creates some really nice grooves and some sweet sugary folk in others it makes for a really treat for your ears from the start of the record. Tracks such as Love Shark and Hard To Hold pick up the pace nicely, with a nice groove, but opener Made Of Dreams is a gentle acoustic track that works perfectly, the album a nice balance of both throughout.

There’s nothing bad to say about this record, nice melodies and a great vocal throughout, Ashley Riley has created an incredible record here, and if you like acoustic, you are going to fall in love with this record, with perfect grooves and gentle melodies in great balance. It’s not a simple record, it is crafted beautifully, and I hope that it’s not five years before she can record another album as good as this. Highlights for me are Made Of Dreams, Love Shark and All The Pretty Things.

10/10.

Review: Sons Of Settlers – Lullabies For The Restless.

sosSons Of Settlers release their new album worldwide today, Lullabies For The Restless. With incredible harmonies and multiple layers of awesome musicianship, the South African folk band have created a great sounding record, You can learn more about the band on their facebook here.

Lyrically simple but effective, the album feels genuine and very real and with the lovely harmonies that run through this record, they work in partnership incredibly well. You Are Not Alone springs to mind when it comes to this all coming together to create a really great song, The Valley Next To The Sea also really shows the simple genius on this record, that Sons Of Settlers really bring on Lullabies throughout.

Melodically, it’s rooted in brilliant folk melodies and guitars that work brilliantly on this record, tracks such as It’s Cold Outside and To Yesterday bring together that folk acoustic sound and a modern twist to create an interesting sound, and with the vocals from the whole of the band it works altogether as a whole with such ease for the band. The album does stick to its roots too though, the eponymous track Lullaby For The Restless, sticks to that traditional folk vibe and does it well, this song not feeling over familiar, which some of the album does suffer from.

Sons Of Settlers have created a great album here with magnifcent harmonies and creative melodies that really work well together. Highlights for me on this record are The Valley Next To The Sea, Stay Together and It’s Cold Outside. A record that Sons Of Settlers should be pleased to debut with, I think they can do so much more with their sound as they bring together a great collection of musicians and vocalists, if this is the beginning, the next record can only be better.

8/10.

Review: Stuart McCallum – City.

mccallumStuart McCallum releases his new album on the 28th of August through Naim Jazz Records. The album made up of a lot of blurred genres it’s a mix of pop, jazz and acoustic, there’s a lot of talent on this record and you can listen to a small taster of the record, T-Onics here.

McCullum’s lyrics are simple but promising, and with silky vocals like this, they work perfectly together, with a smooth sound that is made for a jazz vibe, tracks such as the eponymous, ‘City’ really showcase this perfectly, with a really smooth simplicity to the track, it’s a really great start to the record.

Melody wise, City is an easy listening kind of record with some lovely grooves that tie together perfectly, making it perfect for late nights and unwinding to, track such as North Star with the vocals of Sharlene Hector sound delicious and accompanied by a slow burning beat sounds great. There are many collaborations on this record and each collaboration feels well created and made for the partnership, Trio Seven where violinist Emma Sweeney is featured is another highlight.

City is a nice and smooth record which brings together a huge amount of talent from all types of music, which makes it an interesting record to listen to as it blends genres together. Slow and well paced it’s a record perfect for unwinding from a long day in the office and certainly worth a listen if you like electronica, pop or jazz and the fusion of all three. Highlights on the record are Said And Done, Trio Seven and Inhale.

7.5/10.