Jorja Smith – Lost & Found (Review)

The 21-year-old from Walsall is on her way to a global status. Having already collaborated with artists such as Drake, Stormzy and Kendrick Lamar, her debut album contains her best work yet in my eyes and showcases her originality. Released back in June of this year and lasting only 45 minutes, this R&B album is filled with all the great aspects you’d want in one. The album took 2 years to record with Jorja co-writing most of the songs with other artists. She’s only 21 and is completely extraordinary, and I’m sure she’ll be like a fine red wine, which gets even better with age.

“Lost & Found” is the song that made me fall in love with Jorja’s music. The production on the track begins with a wave of clarity, before we hear “yeah like that, sounds cool” from Jorja. With her common accent, it makes the song more real. Angelic vocals suits the atmosphere, grooving into an effective beat cementing that this album has successfully landed. A subtle key change takes us into the actual song making the introduction that extra special. Jorja wrote this when she was only 15. She wrote it as she felt a bit lost when she went to London for the first few times, but she found herself while she was there and adapted to her surroundings. Hearing the maturity of her voice blending in with the soulful, chilled vibes of the song puts the cherry on top of a beautifully, crafted track.

Introducing the next song, we hear humming, which we don’t really think much of it. It wasn’t until I did a bit of research on “Teenage Fantasy” and found out that the recording of the so-called humming was actually recorded by Jorja while she was babysitting at 16. Finding out this fact makes the song a whole lot clearer to the so-what nature of some teenagers and it definitely brings back some nostalgic memories from my teen days. The first two lines of the song deals with the story of “you weren’t the person I thought you were,” we all know someone in our lives who turned out to be the complete opposite of what we thought. Teenage Fantasy hits the nail on the head completely. When we’re young, we want to be in love and feel that we’d only be happy if we were in a relationship. I can say this, as I did the exact thing. As time passes by, you realise that you have to love and accept yourself before you can love someone else and the way that Jorja portrays this message is mesmerizing.

Confronting and having the courage to say goodbye to someone takes some guts, especially when they meant/mean a lot to you. The story of “Where Did I Go?” explains exactly that. The production on this track is slightly more upbeat from the percussion being so prominent, and it makes sense as this track was produced by Sam Wills whereas the first two tracks were done by Charlie Perry. As much as this is a good track, I feel the melody is a bit predictable and not as thought out as the first two tracks. The subjects behind the song is effective though.

“February 3rd” is a lot more mellow than any track so far, making it a whole new direction for the album. “There’s a life outside I didn’t know” means that Jorja is now at an age where she is seeing things differently, and a lot more real. When we’re young, we hardly have any fears and see things in a completely different light, and it’s when we get older that we realise that we were in this little safe haven through our younger years. After the first lyric, the song changes into another relationship scenario. This travel showcases that Jorja feels that the guy is playing games and isn’t taking the relationship seriously. After all, a relationship is for both sides, not one-sided at all.

Finally, Jorja has left the boy in “On Your Own” who’s been giving her grief and he’s on HIS own now. Jorja has essences in her voice that sound like Sia, especially when she sings “on your own tonight.” I find Jorja as a lazy, slurry singer in this track, which is a complete positive. It gives her voice that attitude the song needs. The song doesn’t really award her range as such, it shows off her tone and control though. While she gets quite personal in this, the smooth beats make the song dynamically work. I would like this song to build a bit further though, it feels like it’s craving a stronger arrangement.

Well, you guessed it, “The One” is another song about a boy. As much as the songs are really great, they’re getting a bit repetitive with the subjects. The song deals with Jorja looking back on her past relationships that have failed and how she hopes she doesn’t become dependant on a person again. I do really like however that Jorja features “Choosers, Takers and Begging Heartbreakers” in the lyrics. Choosers are people who simply choose to love without a thought. Takers are people who know exactly what they want, but don’t feel the need to show it back. Begging Heartbreakers are people who simply beg to have someone in their life, just to throw it back in their faces and hurt them.

Moody, melancholiness are highlighted through “Wandering Romance” which suits the subject of an unstable relationship. It feels like the big ballad on the album, but at the same time, it still makes you want to dance. Usually the audience just want to watch and listen to ballad’s, but you can tell this song will also be a hit for our inner dancers at Jorja’s live shows. Saying that, I feel this may be the weakest track on the album purely because it doesn’t personally take me anywhere. I don’t feel anything emotional with it. Plus the constant background voice that sings “bruh” is quite annoying.

Arguably Jorja’s biggest track to date, as in popularity, “Blue Lights” has a big arrangement and warm production. The song questions why people should feel guilty about something if they haven’t actually done anything wrong. “Don’t you run when you hear the sirens coming, when you hear the sirens coming” is a fitting lean towards Dizzee Rascals “Sirens” and later in the song, it actually features a sample of the song. The song has a big message with people quoting that it was written for her friend who had a knife in their bag. We don’t know exactly what the song was written about and that makes it a whole lot more interesting. It gels the facts together that it can be about anything you want it o be, making it a lot more personal. Blue lights could link towards police cares as well. The song isn’t innocent, it’s in your face, dark and serious. The song was released two years prior to the album, so no wonder it’s so big.

“Lifeboats (Freestyle) was written with Tom Misch (which you can instantly recognise by the jazz-like chords.) The track explains how people drown in their own thoughts and difficulties in life. Whereas Lifeboats are the imagery to how we escape, but if we put that into our life’s perspective, what is a lifeboat a metaphor towards? Our close ones? Music? Who knows, we never really find out, leaving it unfinished and allowing us as the audience to get more personal to reflect the song in our own lives. The song is also linked to Kanye West’s track “All Falls Down” which channels the same context as Jorja’s… we now know where this song was inspired from. It also links to the title track Lost & Found with the first lyric being “Why do we all fall down?” I love the charisma of Jorja’s common Walsall accent in this track. It makes it more human and intimate. 

The next track is an acoustic, sad song. Jorja sings to someone who she’s lost that she’s in pain and simply misses them. “Goodbyes” are one of the hardest things any human being has to do. The song is emotional and makes me think of the people I’ve lost in my life and really does hit close to home. There’s a lot of R&B singers who have tried writing songs in this similar structure which musically works, but their versions haven’t been as emotional as this. In Jorja’s case, she didn’t actually lose anyone, but her friend did. She wrote the song in her shoes and really emphasises the way her friend felt. Sometimes we never get chance to say goodbye to someone and show them in their last moments how much they meant to us, that’s why you should always show someone you love, that you love them. I’m getting all cheesy now, but there’s no other way to say it really. 

“Tomorrow” is like a sequel to Goodbyes. Wishing that all things will make sense tomorrow is like pushing your dilemmas to the next day because you don’t want to sort them out there and then. A lot of the tracks on the album are either mid-beat or downbeat, this song is slow and doesn’t really escalate in any way. Vocally, Jorja’s voice is heavenly and you can hear her imperfections which makes it a whole lot more honest, but as a whole arrangement, it doesn’t really work for me. Same goes for the last song on the album “Don’t Watch Me Cry.” It’s still keeping that mellow momentum going strong. The song features emotions that are heard while being left in a relationship. Jorja strives her emotion of past relationships and her love life throughout the whole of her album, but she doesn’t dwell on it say as much as, lets say, Adele does. Adele makes her songs sad to pursue her emotion that little bit more across. Whereas with Jorja she makes it more aware that it’s ok to be upset when broken-hearted and that everything will be alright in the end. 

Concluding the album, it’s strong and really proves that love is such an important emotion.

Favourite Tracks: Lost & Found, Teenage Fantasy, Where Did I Go? February 3rd, On Your Own, Blue Lights, Lifeboats (Freestyle), Goodbyes

Score: 8/10

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The Sean Gaffney Band – The Story of How We Lose Control (Review)

Sean’s a musician from a little place called Bishops Castle in Shropshire. Sean’s soulful approach to his music screams out in his original compositions with his own band complimenting his work beautifully. With “The Story of How We Lose Control” being almost 3 years old in two weeks time, the debut solo album is beaming with light in all the right places.

“Chalk On A Wall” is full of charisma with comparisons to artists such as Maroon 5 jazzed up with Jamie Cullum’s chord progressions and wit. An absolutely killer track to debut the band’s album. The song’s rhythm from the instruments and even the lyrics makes you want to shake your hips and jive. The mix feels comfortable, in my own preference though, I’d make the guitar solo a tad more quieter as the warm tone it gives off is really quite overpowering. Saying that, it doesn’t ruin the song as it does gives it an even warmer accent. 

At the end of the day, we always find ourselves saying at some point in our life that It is… “What It Is.” The composition is built around a melodic acoustic guitar riff using a similar resonance to Newton Faulkner and his music. I really find the structure and progressions of the song makes it that extra special. Memorable moments feature the build up into a heavy 00’s rock part before ending up back into the acoustic chilled vibe of the song… Seriously, where the hell did that come from?! 

“No Need to Sleep” is probably one of the most colourful songs on the album because of it’s careless nature. I can see why people like this song a lot because it’s dived into the allure of Jason Mraz and Daniel Bedingfield. It’s the pop highlight of the album for sure. I must say though, a personal opinion again, but I actually prefer the acoustic version as it feels slightly more emotional towards the topic of there’s no need to sleep.

Beginning with an industrial like drum beat,  before the hook line portrays “please don’t take me higher” “Don’t Take Me Higher” is my personal favourite. Instantly within the first 30 seconds, the song is interesting and an important track in Sean’s repertoire. Revolved around a minor key, the track is dark and full of moments that make you believe that this electronic inspired track is one of the best tracks on the whole album. The unnaturalness of the track is uneasy and slightly unsettling, but it’s the lyrics and voices that comfort us to really love this song. 

“I Need A Shower” takes us back to Sean’s comfort zone of funky, acoustic soul. It has an essence of a gypsy jazz track but without the fast tempo and vocals. It’s a playful track that is quite cheesy, but it works. The rhythmical voice of Sean drives us along into a scat like section that reminds me of The Jungle Book’s “I want to be like you..” Yes, it is THAT playful. The walking bass line takes us through the song and before we know it, the 3 and a half-minute song comes to an end and we’re left wanting more and more. 

Next is a sleazy blues composition and the slowest track on the album. “Three Heartbeats” shines dual vocals in the chorus singing two different parts makes the emotional song a lot more personal. The two vocals empathise with both parties that are in this love battle. You can never really go wrong with taking a solo in a blues track, as long as you stay in the key and phrase the notes right, it’ll go well, just like the solo in this. It’s simple but effective. Sitting halfway through the album, it’s nice to have this heated, mellow record to sit back and chill for a moment. 

“Heroes Back to Humans” features the same emotional vibe that Three Heartbeats displayed. We hear different kind of vocals come from Sean with his rap like verses sounding similar to Ed Sheeran but with better music backed up behind him. The backing band behind Sean are Joshua Davies – drums, percussion, Alex Pickford – vocals & Geoff Grimes – keyboards. The production on the album is done by Will Richards. At the end of the day, most heroes are humans anyway, and the message of this song is amazing as it implies that no matter what you do, you’re still human and still have your own boundaries and your own interests.

Music video  – https://www.facebook.com/TheSeanGaffneyBand/videos/841525449377533/

“Interlude” shows Sean’s skills on the guitar and vocals even more than before. This song has just took the bar and put it way higher. The song is humorous and definitely has moments where I chuckled in the first verse. An interlude is defined as a short amount of space or a dramatic piece, and I like how this Interlude is nothing like an interlude. It’s definitely dramatic and makes you feel something, but it’s not short and it hasn’t got a lot of room… by that I mean, there’s lots of things going on at once. This makes the song so much more interesting because we definitely wasn’t expecting that. 

Going back to Sean’s acoustic roots, “The Gambler” showcases his guitar skills, mores specifically, his hammer on ability. The whole song is planted within the folk genre as Sean tells a story simply about a gambler. With the harmonies, we find ourselves listening to a song that takes us into a nostalgic, flashback moment of the importance of folk in the 1960’s. With artists such as Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, who just simply sang and played guitar… which sounds simple, but what they did is make every part of the song say something for itself, and that is EXACTLY what Sean’s did with this track.

As much as Never Better” & “Escape Routed” are great, it shows a lot of the elements that we’ve heard already on the album. It would have been nice to hear another arrangement like Don’t Take Me higher as that was completely unexpected, whereas Never Better we’ve heard before in the other songs, but played better. Escape Routed has a gorgeous guitar tone that makes the song shine. It’s always really hard to have songs at the end of the album that stand out and keep you glued through the album. They are still good songs but I feel like they lack the wit that the other songs portray.

“Christ and Science” is just what I wished for. We have that acoustic, industrial sound again. The track features a big arrangement filled with many instruments all at once. You couldn’t get bored with this track as every time you listen to it, there’s something else you haven’t heard in the mix before. The orchestral arrangement proves that Sean and his backing band are really talented and are influenced by so many things around them. They are true musicians who play mature, responsible music that I feel I won’t get tired of listening to any time soon. 

Favourite Tracks: Chalk on A Wall, What It Is, Don’t Take Me Higher, I Need A Shower, Three Heartbeats, Interlude, The Gambler, Christ and Science.

Score: 8/10

https://www.facebook.com/TheSeanGaffneyBand/

https://www.seangaffney.net/

Phi Yaan Zek’s Album Launch Review – 15th September 2018

Photo taken by Me on Steve Lawson's camera!

reality.jpg

Located on a warm Saturday night at Kidderminster College, the night began with one of the college’s talented bands; Hey Jester. The Hey Jester boys are really causing a stir with their progressive rock music. The songs. The image. The sound. They have the whole package. Think early Muse but with incredible Myles Kennedy like vocals. Even had people coming up to me after the show saying that they’d go watch Hey Jester play their own headline show, it was THAT good of a set. Frontman, Mirron Webb was pretty busy all night seeing as he featured in Phi Yaan Zek’s all star band…

Well, what can I say… it’s been 5 days after the show and I’m still speechless from Phi’s set. Incredible. With Phi playing electric/acoustic guitar and vocals, his backing band featured Steve Lawson on Bass (who actually stood up and played.. this was a surprise to say the least), Andy Edwards on Drums, Ola Olsson on Trumpet, Lalle Larson on Keyboard and Mirron Webb on Guitar. They kicked the show off with a new track off Reality Is My Play Thing called “Alive.” It’s fast and full of charisma. The week before the album launch, the band actually filmed a music video for Alive which features zombies… It’s rather mad. It will be released soon. Once the song was finished, there was a huge roar come from the crowd of praise towards the band and there’s no doubt that the momentum stayed all the way to the end of the gig as it truly did. The 3 minute song is filled with many notes to say the least. It’s in your face constantly and you can’t ignore it and why would you want too? It’s wonderful and hearing the song live really lived up to the expectation of the studio version. There were a few moments where Phi’s microphone feedbacked but the sound was sorted out quite quickly.

“Kindling” has a memorable chorus which I found myself singing when performed live. It’s the killer riff that is the most insane thing about the song. What an introductory to the band. I know that some of the band members had said that learning Phi’s songs has been one of the hardest things they’ve ever learnt, but my goodness, they pulled off a brilliant show. “Reunion” was a stand out track for the show. It’s a scary song anyway but seeing the musicians actually perform it was even scarier. Think Frank Zappa but slightly madder… it is possible as it’s Phi. The song was released on Phi’s 2007 album “Anomalies.” This song just put the cherry on the insanity cake. Wow.

“Frequency Calling” is another newbie and was performed near enough the exact same as the record. Starting off with Phi’s lyrics “no signal.. seems broken, your message is forgotten, so borrow this radio and allow your dreams to flow”, the song begins acoustically and even features a superb acoustic guitar solo from Phi. It then reaches it’s peak when the full band are introduced. I really enjoyed sitting back and seeing where this song takes me mentally. The interference of the song took the audience through a bizarre journey of accepting yourself and things around you.

Now… “Ecstasies of the Starlight Self” is completely prog down to a tee. It’s one of Phi’s best songs in my eyes because it’s just so unusual. The studio version is featured on Phi’s album with Marco Minneman “Dance with the Anima.” The band made the 1:51 track into an over 3 minute epic of solos coming out of solos. It’s Phi’s scat like vocals in the song which just makes it so much fun. The drum and bass style drum parts are so important in this song creating a fast pace.

The song makes you dance, just look at Phi in this video.

Starting off the next song with something different.. anyone for a game of I spy? Phi picked an audience member for a game of “I Phi” which lead into probably the funkiest song of the set. It’s Mirron’s rhythmical guitar part that sticks out straight away with a memorable wah effect added to the sound. This is a track where it was lovely to see the band wander into their own comfort zones and play their own, unique solos. I Phi was definitely one of the best tracks on the night with the audience applauding so loudly at the end that it actually hurt my ears! The genuine fretless bass sound was clear from the get go. Sometimes people just use programme effect on a pedal to get a fretless sound, but not with Steve Lawson, he has the real thing. 

One of my absolute favourites of Phi’s is “Wondrous Self” purely because of the chord progression. Harmonically, the song is clever and looks so easy to play very from all the musicians on the stage. They made every song look so easy to play which is completely inspiring. If I had a go at one Phi Yaan Zek song, I think my hands would fall off. The song seemed to have gone by quickly, probably because we all enjoyed it so much and they say time flies by when you’re having fun. The next track was simply put as a wash of all emotions… EVER. It’s angry. It’s happy. It’s a rollercoaster. It’s like a…. “Brainwash.” Off Phi’s debut album released over 21 years ago, the song reminds me of something along the lines of The Prodigy covering a Gentle Giant track. It’s dark but also so bright to listen too. 

Featuring Phi back on the acoustic guitar, “Subtle” is a faint movement towards a soft song. It’s always nice to hear a slow song after listening to complete madness of Phi’s other discography and Subtle just proves that he can write in different types of moods, making him a very versatile artist, which we already knew. Subtle featured an absolutely gorgeous bass solo from Steve Lawson, I was completely mesmerised. Swiftly onto the next song, “Break the Ice” let Phi sit back a bit with the guitar work ever so slightly and let Mirron take control with an impressive guitar solo. Break The Ice sits exactly in the middle of the first half of Phi’s latest album and it fitted pleasantly towards the end of the set. 

Let’s forget about the music for a moment, I just wanted to say how wonderful Phi’s interaction with the audience was. “Does anybody like Dragonflies? What about Dragonfly Medicine?” I think that’s Phi in a nutshell… random and weirdly wonderful. ‘Cause let’s be honest… only Phi would write a song about Dragonfly Medicine. It’s the second song of the new double album and it’s everything you want in an instrumental. The rhythm is strange and out of this world. It’s Lalle and Andy the audience are watching in complete awe for this track. Both dominated the rhythm and showed the song who’s boss. 

“Down from the Mountain” is a stand out track on Phi’s latest album, which featuring vocals from Phi, plus Mirron in the choruses making the section more noticeable and strong. The song deals with isolation and to not get stuck in your head. The lyrics are quite dark for such a happy sounding song. It’s the rhythm of the vocals over the lyrics that stand out to me as a songwriter. It’s imaginative and a different way to deliver vocals successfully. Next up in the live set just happens to be the very last song on the double album “Reality Is My Strange Thing” which takes us through so many influences. There’s part where it sounds like a jazz standard, the next it’s an uptempo ska track. It’s completely and utter bonkers but so enjoyable to listen too. 

The ‘last’ song of the set, you know the one before people go “MORE” and the band have to do one more… just happened to be “Abigail’s Place.” Phi released Abigail’s Place 3 months prior to the album launch and I’m so glad he did, because everyone in the audience, I mean EVERYONE was singing “We’re going, we’re going, we’re going, we’re going to Abigail’s Place.” A memorable moment of the whole show. It’s always amazing when one song can bring so many people together for that special moment and that surely was a lovely moment. What made the show so amazing was watching the musicians on stage thoroughly enjoy the whole set and they were certainly in their element. 

And we then thought that was the end, until the roar of the audience shone through. Phi then exclaimed “well… we’ll do one more then.” Another interaction moment was when Phi got an audience member on the stage to begin the encore with “I want to tell you about the puffball that ate my village…” and with that one lyric, we all knew we were going on another adventure inside Phi’s head. It was like Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Gentle Giant and Gong just jammed on stage to create this circus sound. Before we knew it, the evening came to an end and I for one definitely could have listened to another hour’s worth of material. What a night.

When’s the next gig, Phi?

https://www.facebook.com/phiyaanzekmusic/

http://pyzmusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/HeyJesterBand/

Tom Misch – Geography (Review)

Not many folk had heard of Tom Misch until his latest release, the timeless album “Geography”  back in April. I can already tell that in a decade or so, this album will simply be put as a “classic”, as the production, the songwriting, the talent is oozing with goodness out of every pour. Tom is only 23 years old and comes from England’s capital, London. Having skills as a producer as well a songwriter is really like having the world in the palm of your hand. He has the skills to record at any time as he can just do it all by himself and that’s the main thing I like about Tom. He’s signed to a record label, but he records, produces primarily on his own which has turned into 2,000,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, so he must be doing something good.

“Before Paris”  is the album opener and it’s simply introduced as a monologue from an interview that Roy Hargrove (jazz trumpeter) did. The song develops into a jazz-funk groove with quite a modern-pop guitar tone to keep it a refreshing feel. The whole production on this track is warming and a lovely start to an album. The monologue seems to be about someone who loves to do what they do as a career or even a hobby. It really mixes the album to make us believer that Tom loves what he does and that’s so humbling to know. The prominent part to me is how the drummer hits the snare repeatedly making it sound so tight and clean.

I’d read numerous descriptions for the next and they’ve been making me laugh so much. “Lost in Paris” makes you feel that it’s simply about a love that Tom lost in Paris but apparently, according to Tom himself on twitter, it’s about a hard drive that he, well, lost in paris. If this is true, it makes the song feel a bit more humorous and we can sympathise in a way because we’ve all lost something before. The amount of times I’ve lost my house keys is off the charts. Unlike this song which is still IN the charts! The melody is easy listening and suited for the warm weather we’re having at the moment in England. The tracks features Goldlink – a Washington DC Rapper. He adds a flavouring which makes the song suited for Rap/R’N’B lovers.

The track “South of the River” is filled with elements of pop, funk and r’n’b music with classical even being a strong influence with the string violins being a crucial part to the song. The vocal melody is memorable and pleasing to the ear. The way that Tom sings the lyrics are rhythmical, creating the catchy funk element. When we reach the solo, the instrument plays a jazz type scale introducing another influence for the song. As a whole, the lyrics are simple and the song subject is simple too, but the production and sound that the song delivers is really lovely. The fade out of the keyboard & guitar is mesmerizing, making the song sound like a dream. It’s diverse and the song compliments different decades because it sounds like a 70’s dance hit, an 80’s roller disco track, 90’s club anthem & a 00’s/10’s “banger” (as our youth say.)

Reminding me of 90’s R’n’B bands such as The Fugees, “Movie” is a mellow, relaxing composition that features spoken word at the beginning from Tom’s sister, Polly Misch. Tom really does have his own style which is so great to hear originality in this day and age. Tom has a very soft, calm voice which really compliments this song perfectly. The low frequencies on all the instruments are truly mesmerizing as it’s had to produce low sounds well into music without it sounding just like noise. What’s so amazing is that you can hear all of the instruments in their own limelight.

“Tick Tock” is filled with laid back vibes which reminds me of Bonobo ever so slightly at the beginning, then it develops into an upbeat, dance track. It’s warm sounding and gives a similar influence of “Make Luv” by Room 5 featuring Oliver Cheatham. The violins are featured in this track which makes it resemble “South of the River.” It’s always nice to have familiarity on an album of songs that truly stand out. For an instrumental, it really holds your attention. Sometimes we get lost and don’t stick with a song because a lot of use primarily listen to lyrics and vocal phrases, but this song catches you throughout.

De La Soul, the iconic hip hop band are featured on It Runs Through Me.” It’s quirky and clever how the lyrics “she told me add a bass line” is when the actual bass line of the song begins. This lyric is a hint towards “Add the Bassline” by Jordan Rakei who is one of Tom’s dearest friends and collaborators. This song has been hyped  up to be one of the best on the album, probably cause De La Soul are on it, but I feel it’s a bit repetitive and isn’t as interesting as all the other songs so far.

A jazzed up version of the soul hit “Isn’t She Lovely” by the legend Stevie Wonder is dreamy and very lo-fi. It’s layered with guitar parts over each other creating this bright tone. It’s the shortest track on the whole album, but still an important track on the album. Featuring a cover on an original album is really hard sometimes because people have their own expectation of a cover already (from the original.) Tom picked this song that’s covered by a lot of people too, which makes it even harder to compete with, but either way, he pulls it off and it’s a lovely, safe rendition of the track.

“Disco Yes” is a love song that seems like a relationship is going through a rough patch with the hook line being “i STILL love you,” leaves us as the audience thinking, are they together or not? If they’re not, they should be an item again because they’re still longing for one another. I feel the song dragged on a bit too much and should have ended a bit earlier as it feels like it out did it stay. This could be what Tom longed for with this track to make it seem that the relationship did go bad but then the happiness of the song is telling us that there’s still hope for the two lovers. I just feel it should have definitely gotten to the point a bit quicker than it did.

“Man Like You” is another cover. Originally done by Patrick Watson. Tom’s version is more of a Jeff Buckley approach where Jeff would take a cover song and transform it in his own way using his voice and guitar. Tom features ambient violins in the background which creates a spaced out atmosphere. Plus Tom sings this version in a lower register to how Patrick would do it. It’s a really great cover of an even greater song. A must listen on the album for sure.

Loyle Carner who’s a British rapper/spoken word artist features on “Water Baby.” The song deals with how bad things affect us, but if we don’t let it get to us, the grey will turn to sunshine. It’s a positive song but I feel it lacks something. The lyrics, rhythm’s and melodies are great, but I feel dynamically it stays the same all the way through, like a straight line that’s never-ending. I’d definitely like to hear subtle dynamic shifts in this for sure.

As much as I really like Tom’s voice, it always has the same tone in all of the songs on Geography and he uses the same phrases in “You’re on My Mind” too. It’s a true heart-felt ballad which doesn’t really go anywhere.  The chord changes are really nice though as well as the main drum beat. As a singer myself, I like to hear singers sing different verses differently as it captures the listeners even further. The guitar solo is very John Mayer-esque which I’m not surprises in the slightest as that’s one of Tom’s biggest musical influences. John Mayer is a sensational songwriter and guitarist who’s very underrated, just like Tom.

Heavily sampled by “So Hard to Find” by Pazazz is basically “Cos I Love You” in a nutshell. There’s not much to say really about this song. It didn’t grab my attention at all and I feel it sounds similar to everything else on the album. It really lacks originality. It’s forced to feel like everything else I should say. I do like how Tom heavily influenced a 70’s disco track and gave it a fresh new light but it’s cheesy and unnatural.

“We’ve Come So Far” is the last track on the album and it literally repeats “we’ve come so far” all the way through which gets annoying after a little while. The rhythm and harmonies make the song appeal more to my ears. Although I feel it’s not the best, it sends a warm, positive message across to the listeners making it a happy finish to a great album.

Favourite Tracks: Before Paris, Lost in Paris, South of the River, Movie, Tick Tock, Isn’t She Lovely, Man Like You

Score: 8/10

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Junior Weeb, Coat of Many & Dan James Griffin live at The Copcut Elm, Droitwich – 11th May 2018 (Review)

As part of this review, I wanted to say a bit about Kidderminster College. I’ve been studying at Kidderminster College for 4 years now and my time is up in June. I’ve met some amazing musicians on the way who have turned into great friends. On the 11th May, I went to the Copcut Elm to see 3 college acts play a gig and even though, I don’t go into college as much as I’d like anymore, the college itself is amazing as it brings us musicians together. Without college, I may never have known about these lovely people. 

First to take the stage was Dan James Griffin, I reviewed Dan’s album 4am last year which you can read here. Still to this day, Dan’s music just completely blows my mind. His technique and love for his instrument shines through every single performance he showcases. He uses such versatile, tight rhythms that creates this prog- math rock & hip hop vibe to his songs. His bright tone glows throughout all of his performances creating another level of music. As Dan is more of an “online” artist, it’s always an honour to see him live and it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss. I must say though, the PA that was used for this event wasn’t suited for the pub as such and wasn’t as powerful as hoped, but each artist dealt with the sound and managed to pull off a brilliant performance anyway.

https://www.facebook.com/danjamesgriffincomposer/
https://danjamesgriffincomposer.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/danjamesgriffin/

Next up on the evening were a newly formed band, Coat of Many, and I swear to god, each time I see them, they get better and better. The chemistry they all have on stage delivers to create this lovely warm pop sound. The group are mainly composed by two songwriters; Ellie & Theone. Ellie is known for writing deep, meaningful love songs and Theone explains her love for the world with reggae, blues and even soul numbers. The two girls and their musical talents radiate off each other which truly inspires the listeners. I love how the band will take things down to quite slow beat tracks but still hold the audience’s attention throughout each song, whether it’s slow or fast tempo. The band as a whole have this charisma that every artist should inspire to have and my goodness, they sure do love what they do. As do the listeners. 

https://www.facebook.com/CoatOfMany/
https://www.instagram.com/coatofmanyuk/

The headline band of the night were the insanely talented, Junior Weeb. The band from Droitwich brought in a great crowd for the whole of the night which was so amazing to see people listen to mainly originals all night and enjoy it in a pub! The boys create a 90’s grunge, indie-funk sound with their music drawing inspirations from, what sounds like Sonic Youth, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Wolf Alice to name a few. The rhythm section: Max Killing (bass) and Quentin Hill (drums) deliver a solid effort throughout their performances with adding small fills that sound heavily influenced by jazz fusion artists; Weather Report. It was the first night I had seen Junior Weeb play in a while and they have improved so much to tighter their craft and deliverance. The inspirations from their performance were truly breathtaking with even them covering an old instrumental song “Sleep Walk” by Santo & Johnny. This song saw Joe (lead guitar) and Max (bass) switch instruments, Joe took to bass and Max played a lap steel guitar. It was really nice to see the boys play something different for the audience to hear and it surely made them stand out even more. 

https://www.facebook.com/juniorweebband/
https://www.instagram.com/juniorweeb_/
https://soundcloud.com/juniorweeb

As a whole, the night was oozing with talent and I’m so proud to have these musicians as not only contacts but also friends. Do check out their music, you won’t be disappointed.