Thomas & The Empty Orchestra is the music of Sheffield musician Thomas Matthew Bower and he has released his latest EP, Let Go, on the independent label Alya Records based in the same city.
Let Go is a truly heartfelt EP exploring a wide range of topics including love, loss, obsession and redemption while beginning on the wonderfully erstwhile In The Eaves. Time Runs Out For Narcissus manages to be full of bravado whilst also being deeply introspective, before the sombre Blood Moon (No Friend) continues the exemplary folk storytelling from this superbly talented musician. This short collection of four songs is brought to an end far too soon with the EP’s title track which is full of haunting melancholia, bringing this excellent record to a fitting conclusion.
The Passed is the latest EP from The Passing Fancy, the solo project of Wakefield based musician Paul Bateson.Kicking off with the reflective yet bouncy All I Wanna Do (Is Get Drunk Today), which instantly makes you want to be down the pub singing along to the chorus.Beer & Wine (I’ll Be Fine) screams of heartbreak, pulling at your heartstrings while also seeing a great take on traditional folk music by accompanying some wonderful strings along with guitars that meld together perfectly.The Passing Fancy then jump into a short sharp burst of garage rock on Let Me Know (Or Let Me Go) which sees a change in direction for them all be it a good one.Despite coming in at less than six minutes the EP is splendidly put together and with the promise of new music for later in the year it leaves me looking forward to hearing more from The Passing Fancy.
London’s Divisionists have released their debut album, Daybreak, on the independent label Mount Watatic Records. With distinct melodies that hold this record together, Daybreak has a real sincerity to it which offers the chance for listener and musicians to unite.
Divisionists ensure that the album gets off to an impossibly good start with the mightily impressive Say Can You, a rip-roaring tune that harks back to guitar pop of the 90’s accompanied by fuzzy riffs that tear through the song. The aptly titled Dream Landscape sees some understated tones in addition to the soft guitars that swooon through this track and although the vocal content is low, when they do kick in they are special which allows Divisionists to show that less is sometimes more.
The band also cover a plethora of genres throughout Daybreak which allows the album to remain interesting for its duration and songs such as The First Casulty have more of a traditional rock sound to them, however there is enough of a twist taken on this kind of music to avoid a repetitive sound of the past. The ability to slow the pace right down is also demonstrated on Colours (Song For A Spaceman), a tune who’s key to its effectiveness is held within its simplicity.
All Fall Down sees the band dip their toe into a folky sound which features lyrical content that pulls at your heartstrings making for an emotive moment on this excellent record. Daybreak is brought to a close with its longest track We Must Be Careful a grand tune leaving you yearning for more with glorious harmonies in addition to a virtuous guitar solo rounding off a superb debut album from the talented Divisionists.
Australian indie folk duo Sodastream have returned with their first new album for over ten years as they celebrate their 20-th anniversary in 2017.Recorded gradually over a three-year period Little by Little certainly shows that good things come to those who wait as it really is a delightful record.
Colouring Iris starts things off and this lovely smooth, mellow tune sets the tone for the listener immediately, that also features a string section that you can’t help but lose yourself in.The intro to habits quickens the pace up in addition to having a slight bluegrass feel too it’s vocals and guitars.Sodastream use a variety of other musicians who provide a plethora of instruments as can be heard on some feel-good horns on Letting Go which also contrast some tough lyrics well.
The harmonies on Walking Bone really add colour and vibrancy to a heartfelt song that draws out emotions as well being a really thought provoking moment.The longest track on the album, Tyre Iron particularly stood out as the feedback on the first part of the song manages to provide a sense of shoegaze on a folk record which I’m not sure I’ve heard before developing in to a wonderfully soulful tune.Little by Little is drawn to a conclusion by the wistful and occasionally haunting Saturday’s Ash which ensures this brilliant record meets and end that is fitting.
Sodastream have more than picked up where they left off before taking their hiatus and the biggest compliment I can pay this album is that it would be a tragedy if we had to wait another ten years for another record from these talented Australians.
Bleeding Gold Records have made the Cross Thread single by Manchester’s singer/songwriter Roman Lakes available as pay what you want download. The lead track itself is full of folky wistfulness and really demonstrates Roman Lakes’ talents to the utmost. The track really paints a serene picture before building up to a rousing finale that’s rip full of emotion to make for a great listen. The single is accompanied by a demo of Home Tonight a more stripped back affair that really highlights some excellent vocals. Proceedings are drawn to a close by a quick reprise of Cross Thread which really puts a line under things and make for a nice moment to end things on.
The excellent Philophobia Music have unearthed another gem, the superb Shot Down EP from Dark Horse, the new project of Wakefield musician Matt Knee featuring Rosie Doonan on vocals.Opening track, Dark Horse really highlights the greatness of Doonan’s vocals which they continue to be throughout the record, however it as about the music too and Knee doesn’t let us down with some wonderfully crafted tunes.
Although there is a strong retro theme on Shot Down it manages to keep its own sound as can be heard on Autumn which has a groove to die for as well as harbouring a truly infectious making it an unadulterated pop moment.The record ends with its title track which really stands out for me with guitars verging on psychedelia without stepping away from the folk sensibilities that Dark Horse have demonstrated.I highly recommend this EP and the only issue is that at three tracks it is way too short which definitely leaves you hanging on for more so I can’t wait to hear more from them.
This latest EP from Leeds based singer/songwriter Joshua McCarthy, AKA Soulmates Never Die is a truly awe inspiring collection of wonderful songs. Opening track Kyss Kyss sets the tone for the record with a great guitar line that really dives the song along at an excellent pace. The upbeat melodies of the sublime Boku-Maru can’t help but put a smile on your face as well as being one of the stand out moments on this fantastic EP. The emotive God Bless Rabo Karabekian! is followed up the great lo-fi track Two Lovers Tussling Tenderly Between Two Trees, which draws Nothing Hurt, Everything Was Beautiful to a fine conclusion.