Oxford based singer/songwriter Lewis Watson has grabbed musical opportunity with both hands. His first debut and self-produced EP, It’s Got Four Sad Songs On It, BTW topped the iTunes singer/songwriter charts, and now the young lad is back with a second EP, imaginatively named Another Four Sad Songs.
Watson has an immense amount of talent. Despite the EP being called Another Four Sad Songs, the music isn’t exactly what one would call wholly depressing. Melancholy, maybe, but it’s definitely not as sad as the title makes out. If anything, the songs are actually very pleasant to listen to, in fact, Sink or Swim is really quite wonderful.
Musically, Another Four Sad Songs is enjoyable if a little bit predictable. Lewis Watson has clear songwriting skill, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking – the singer/songwriter, guy-with-an-acoustic guitar thing isn’t exactly original. But, groundbreaking isn’t exactly the point, but instead the order for the day here is bags and bags of passion in the music. It’s easy to get the impression that Watson has poured his heart and soul into every song, and that he’s clearly enjoyed writing, recording and releasing the songs, songs that clearly mean a heck of a lot to him. And let’s be honest, that’s the point of music.
Bad points – there really aren’t any, unless a listener doesn’t like the sound of a well played acoustic guitar and a great singing voice. Those people are going to be few and far between, and so there’s really little to say against Another Four Sad Songs. If one were to nit-pick, it could be claimed that the songs sound too similar, but it’s one voice and an acoustic guitar, it’s pretty much impossible to stop that from happening, and Watsonplays so beautifully that it won’t be noticed.
Maybe the only thing that needs changing about this EP is the title itself – the music really isn’t that sad! It’s just great, relaxing and passionate music, with possible downhearted lyrical themes, but that’s really about it. What’s not to like?
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/11/lewis-watson-another-four-sad-songs-out-now-warner-records/#.UK_ZGIftR2A
Hairy, dreadlock-sporting, acoustic-folk maestro Newton Faulkner has made quite a household name for himself over the last few years. After enjoying mainstream success with songs such as Dream Catch Me (although many people asked would recognise that song, but be unable to say who wrote it), he’s back with a new full length studio album, entitled Write it on Your Skin.
Write it on Your Skin is, in a nutshell, everything one would come to expect from a Newton Faulkner album. It’s fair to say, he hasn’t exactly pushed the boat out in terms of how the songs are constructed. It’s typical Newton Faulkner, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Typical Newton Faulkner has a history of being great to listen to, so typicality isn’t a reason to not give this album a fair shot. Clouds, the first single to be released from the album makes an appearance on the tracklist, and is definitely up there in the high points of the entire record.
One of the most instantly noticeable things about Write it on Your Skin is the fact that there’s some lovely moments that really shine out from the rest. Sometimes it’s an entire song, such as Pick Up Your Broken Heart, which is especially emotive, well put together and, on the whole, a rather special song. Other times, it’s specific sections of the songs, such as the intro to title track Write it on Your Skin, which is brilliant.
What’s especially good about this album is that there’s nothing specific to have an issue with. Every song, whilst different, is enjoyable to listen to which is fast becoming Newton Faulkner’s trademark. The songs are lyrically emotive, wonderfully constructed, beautifully played and sung. Roll all that into one, and a listener ends up with something really special.
Issues – few and far between. Faulkner knows his stuff and knows how to make beautiful music. If one was to nitpick, it can be said that it won’t be to everyone’s tastes, and with others it will only be fit for them to listen to at certain times. Put it this way, don’t listen to it in the car after a hard day, it will put you to sleep at the wheel. It’s not fair to take away from the release itself with this argument, though, Faulkner is hardly going to think ‘this is lullaby-esque, music; I don’t want to be responsible for the deaths of tired drivers, better write something else.’
Write it on Your Skin is therefore set to become another unparalleled success for Newton Faulkner. It’s wonderfully written, excellently played and packed full of so much songwriting talent, it’s hard to know where to start. All that’s left to say is that this reviewer hopes that he’ll carry on exactly the same way for a long time.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/newton-faulkner-write-it-on-your-skin-new
It’s a sensual, euphoric and mystical sounding song. It’s very well written, and it somehow manages to get going and get into the swing of the song without the listener ever actually noticing that it’s happened. It’s a really soft yet uplifting song, and with a title like The Swan of Meander, well titled as well. The guitars in the background are more to provide an almost twinkling kind of effect, rather than put into the track as a backbone to the music, which is different yet enjoyable to listen to.
The percussion in the background sounds very unorthodox, almost like a machine ticking over in a factory. It gives the song a nice antithesis to it, the juxtaposition of the lighter music and the industrial sounds create something rather sensual and, to use probably the wrong word, ‘full-sounding’.
The mainstay or backbone of the sound of this song is the strings. They’re ever present, yet ever so subtle at the same time. It’s cleverly done, because if one were to take them away then the whole song would fall apart completely, and listeners would notice that they’re gone. Yet, a listener actually has to listen out for them to even notice that they’re there. Excellent production.
Vocally, the singing is meaningful and really quite chilling. They’re easy to lose track of, though, as a listener might be caught up in the cacophony of sounds in the background, and they don’t really have anything special going for them to make them stand out. This might be the only issue with this single, though.
On the whole, The Swan of Meander is a pleasant and, to use one of the best words to describe it, interesting sounding single. It’s got a lot going for it, and pre-empts what should be one of the most meaningful and progressive albums of the year.
Lone Wolf is:
Read the original article here: http://planetmosh.com/lone-wolf-the-swan-of-meander/
Luke Temple, the singer songwriter, has had a complicated history of album releases and collaborations, but his latest offering, entitled Don’t Act like You Don’t Care, is simple enough to understand. It’s slow paced, emotive country/folk music that differs from anything that Temple has released before. It’s ambitious and daring.
Don’t Act like You Don’t Care is an interesting concept for a genre, emotional, well written and well sung for good measure. As an album, it’s definitely unique, and definitely a talking point. Temple has talent when it comes to writing songs, and the idea of genre that he was going for has been nailed on the head – spot on. It’s sensitive and in some places slightly chilling, especially vocally, but on the other hand, it can end up being a little repetitive and a little bit too slow, which brings us neatly on to the bad points.
The pace of the album just doesn’t pick up enough. It actually seems to be at its quickest and most lively at the beginning, and it just slows down from there. By the end of the album the listener would be well within their rights to have fallen asleep. Its four-track recorded, too, which gives it an interesting, fuzzy grainy quality, which can be interpreted as either a good or a bad thing, depending on the listener’s attitude. In fact, the hiss of the recording in the background is really prominent at times, especially in the latter half of the album, which can actually be quite distracting.
It’s not a record that looks like to attract new listeners to Luke Temple and his work. There’s just nothing on the album that stands out and speaks to the listener to encourage them to listen to him. What’s on there is, in some ways, good, but there’s nothing particularly special about it. It’s slightly dreary which could repel the potential listener in the first place, and a listener would have to pay special attention to the good parts in order to actually enjoy listening to it.
Overall, then, it’s a good album in a bad album’s clothing. There are some very good elements to the music here, and Luke Temple is clearly a talented songwriter, but there are enough negative parts to this album to hide the true quality of the songs, which is actually quite high. This might limit Temple as an artist unless he can either eliminate this, or use this to his advantage. It would be good to give some advice on how to listen to this album – listening to all of it in one go is a bad idea, but if each song is listened to independently, it becomes much easier to appreciate Temple’s talents. 5.5/10.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/luke-temple-dont-act-like-you-dont-care
Young artist Maz Totterdell is creating quite a stir in the music scene recently. After her initial success by getting the opportunity to feature on BBC Radio 2 and also 6 Music, her debut album Sweep is out on May 28th 2012, and it looks set to shoot the young singer/songwriter to stardom. At just 15 years old, featuring on national radio, and writing and releasing a complete album is an impressive feat for someone so young, but judging from the quality of album it seems like this is just the beginning for the young starlet.
The album itself is a work that definitely belies Maz Totterdell’s years. It’s an extremely mature work for such a young artist, and therefore it should be reviewed as such. Ignoring her young age for a minute so as to be slightly more objective, the album itself is actually very good by anyone’s standards. It’s simplistic, ‘pure’ sounding music, in some places just the vocals and an acoustic guitar, which makes it pleasant music, reduced to its bare bones, and yet it somehow it doesn’t sound empty.
Musically, Sweep is extraordinarily pleasant, calming and relaxing, singing and acoustic music, with some other occasional elements thrown in for good measure, as and when they suit. The acoustic/vocal combination is the bare backbone of the album, though, but some of the other instruments can add some really quite good aspects to the music, to break up the repetition in style and keep the listener’s attention. The presence of the violin on Kaleidoscope is an especially lovely and effective addition to the music, and the use of piano (sparingly and effectively) is done perfectly. It’s very well done.
Vocally, Maz Totterdell manages to sound like she’s pulling off what she can sing without putting any strain on her voice, it all seems very effortless for her. This is pleasant to listen to, she seems confident and happy with her vocal range and therefore sees no reason to test it. Lyrically, the songs are poetic in fashion, captivating and trance-inducing. This actually adds to the whole pure-sound that the album seems to be going for, it’s almost minimalist in some ways, it’s not crowded at all and it’s a relaxing listen, sure to bring a smile to the face.
Issues – actually, there aren’t many. It can get slightly repetitive in the music and style itself, but this isn’t really a problem, but more one that musicians face in general, and now this reviewer is ‘nitpicking’ when he shouldn’t. Other than that, there aren’t really that many issues; only that it will be interesting to see how the music itself fares in the fast paced music scene of today, but Maz Totterell has definitely found a niche in the market that should prove to become her own style. It’s hard to see how anybody could fail to at least appreciate her talent, even if they wouldn’t go out of their way to listen to her.
It will definitely be interesting to see how Maz Totterell’s music matures alongside how she matures herself, but for now she should at least be celebrating what, upon its release, should prove soon to be the success of her impressive debut album. It’s also safe to say that it looks set to blast her straight from the heart of rural Devon to the fast paced world of musical stardom. An extraordinary feat for one so young, and a very high 9/10.
Read the original article here: http://www.poppedculture.co.uk/music-reviews/music-reviews/album-reviews/item/228-maz-totterdell-sweep
Singer/Songwriter David J. Roch releases his interesting, experimental album Skin and Bones through Dram Records. It’s a debut release from him, an ambitious and different style of music that’s hard to categorise and could be interpreted as a bit of a gamble, a bit of a challenge aimed at the musical stereotypes or a bit of a daring question of musical conventions. The only question is whether it works and whether it’s successful.
There’s no doubt at all that Roch is talented. The songs he’s written sound immensely complex despite the fact that they don’t exactly contain many different musical parts. There’s a lot of mismatched sounds and parts of instruments in each song, the only prevailing musical elements present in every song are his haunting, chilling and oddly high-pitched vocals and the guitar he’s holding as he plays, the rest of the parts sound slightly like ‘optional extras’ in the background. This works, though, because the album is styled as David J. Roch, and so obviously the only necessary elements to the songs are what he himself plays.
Throughout the album, Roch experiments with genres; blues, folk, country and western, rock n’ roll. It’s all there and all spectacularly done. It keeps the listener on their toes; the album takes them to places they don’t expect, when they don’t expect them. It’s a nice feeling to not know what to anticipate from song to song, although there is the issue that this could be wasted on the more casual listener. Skin and Bones sounds almost like it’s designed to be listened to by a musician, it’s full of aspects and sounds that a musician would notice, but might slip by unnoticed to a relaxed, easy listener. This is one of the only problems noticeable with the album, however. Even a casual, rather than an intent, critical listener, can find masses of enjoyment in this album.
At first listen, it’s seems that the vocals themselves have taken a bit of a backseat with Roch when he has sat down to write this album. Indeed, it does sound particularly focussed on using different musical effects on the instruments, reverb especially seems popular with him, and also using different types of instruments to “let the music do the talking.” There is some good use of brass on The Lost Child and also on Hell Followed, a haunting and echoing version of a snare click on Hour of Need, as well as the huge amount of epic sounding strings on Only Love. However, this initial first impression of a lack of importance on the vocals is replaced quickly very early on. In fact, this initial idea is blown clean out of the water by track four, The Devil Don’t Mind, which is almost entirely made up of vocals and hardly any music in the background. So there went that theory. Instead it makes more sense to come to the conclusion that the vocals and the music complement each other extremely well.
Overall, Skin and Bones is an ambitious, experimental, extremely complex album, designed to be listened to with total intent and immersion. It sounds like it’s meant to be sat and listened to properly, with respect and an open mind. It’s not background music, but it is extremely clever, innovative and destined to be very successful.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/david-j-roch-skin-and-bones
- Biffy Clyro – Opposites Album Review (Planetmosh Review)
- When We Were Wolves – The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same EP Review (Planetmosh Review)
- Alexisonfire – Death Letter EP Review (Bring the Noise Review)
- Lewis Watson – Another Four Sad Songs EP Review (Never Enough Notes Review)
- Parkway Drive – Atlas Album Review (Bring the Noise Review)
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