Brighton’s indie scene gets a refreshing comedic twist in the form of rockers Sweet Sweet Lies, with the release of their latest full length studio album entitled The Hare, The Hound and the Tortoise. It’s released through Something Nothing Records, a label already having much success with indie artists such as Billy Vincent.
Initially, it’s very tell if Sweet Sweet Lies are a comedy band with serious aspects or if they’re a serious band with a comedy element, but either way, it seems that they’re good to listen to, if a little disappointing. It’s the sort of album that one might listen to when they aren’t feeling too great and need to listen to something to put a smile on their face, so in that respect, it’s actually quite good. It’s packed full of sing-along catchy choruses and hooks, good crunchy guitar sounds and ‘what-on-Earth-did-he-just-say?’ lyrics. In fact, it sometimes sounds like a cross between a set of sea-shanties and typical Eastern European music, in a pleasant-yet-weird kind of combination.
It inspires a dancing motion in the shoulders and yet, on the downside, sometimes it’s quite hard to take it seriously as an album. There are only few more serious songs on the album, which actually might actually be the highlight of it, such as No-one Will Love You (Like I Do). These more serious songs are too few and far between, which leaves a tantalising insight into what the album could be.
But even then, on the more serious songs, it has a slight ironic feel to it and it’s still hard to take it seriously. This might be the biggest failing of this album, because musically, vocally and in terms of production, it’s actually very good.
This is, therefore, really quite a disappointing album, because it’s an album that’s clearly taken talent to put together and has huge amounts of potential. The songs are all well written, recorded and mixed and make a pleasant sound to the eardrums. The presence of the irony only exacerbates this, because it’s cleverly done to add this aspect into the album so effectively.
Overall, The Hare, The Hound and the Tortoise, inspires a broad spectrum of feelings inside the listener; they might find the songs funny, inspiring, strange or even enjoyable. For this reviewer though, it seems like a little bit of wasted potential, but still musically very good. For that reason then, it gets a 6.5/10.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/sweet-sweet-lies-the-hare-the-hound-and-the-tortoise
London folk-rockers Billy Vincent follow up their zealous and progressive EP King Island Coyote with ambitious release, Once on the Grand Union. Folk rock is still a different and experimental genre, and the new release has much to live up to.
Whilst King Island Coyote caught listeners’ attention by being a salute to the experimental, or more accurately an attempt to modernise an older, rarely listened to (in the mainstream chart at least) genre, Once on the Grand Union sounds more like it’s designed to keep listeners attention. It seems less based on promoting the idea of the music and more designed to stimulate and entertain their already-captivated audience. It works, too, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable listen, and making it more approachable solves some of the problems that King Island Coyote had, namely not being very accessible.
It’s evolved and feels carefully put together. Nothing is wasted and every beat counts. Musically and lyrically it’s also quite sensitive, the vocals seem thoughtful and complex. Stylistically, it’s still folk-rock, which, although still strange, still works well. The motto seems to be, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” The maximum amount of effort has gone into every song, and it’s paid off because every one of them is excellent and different.
There are still a couple of problems with it, however. It’s still quite obscure, quite difficult to get into. It’s tough to listen to a lot of Billy Vincent in one go, but it seems like they’re more like a band where one would occasionally want to listen to one or two songs. The songs definitely aren’t as ‘catchy’ as they could be. One finds oneself playing a song again just to remind of how it sounded. This could be because the album is quite slow – it lacks energy.
Overall, Billy Vincent’s music style has definitely evolved since King Island Coyote. It sounds much more confident than their previous releases, and this makes a lot of difference. It’s a marked change, but in some ways not necessarily an improvement.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/review/billy-vincent-once-on-the-grand-union
To hear of a folk music band releasing a new, let alone a debut, album is a rare thing these days, because there’s not much of a demand in the modern mainstream music market for a folk band. However, London based folk quintet Billy Vincent apparently feel that this is a niche in the market that they want to, and can, exploit. The group have been releasing records themselves since March 2009, but have since been noticed by label Something Nothing Records and signed to release their first signed EP, King Island Coyote.
Upon first listening, the impression one gets is a pleasant, country and western feel, not unlike that of Rascal Flatts, but the songs never really get the same sort of uplifting, epic and emotive sound that Flatts manage to achieve, but instead stay a lot more like the traditional folk style that the band proclaim they to have. After the first few minutes, the Flatts sounds sort of blends into the background to be replaced with Billy Vincent’s own, unique sound. To be fair, this isn’t bad, in fact it’s actually quite good, it just might be a bit of an acquired taste for some.
It could be a fair assumption to say that Billy Vincent have managed to modernise the genre of folk into something more accessible by many different people, by changing the genre very slightly to make the songs feel more like they are aimed at everyone, and not just pure folk fans. Pure fans won’t be disappointed either, as the music keeps a traditional style, as if the band members are themselves fans. I would say, in general however, that an attempt to modernise folk and bring it into the mainstream is an ambitious and very difficult task for a pure folk band – it’s probably better to add some elements to other music, than to add other musical elements to this type of music. Overall though, it’s a really good EP, the songs are catchy and memorable but it just may not be very accessible. 6/10.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/review/billy-vincent-king-island-coyote
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