Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Al Rowley - Embers EP

Hear The Track Here

First out of the review bag this month is a request from my Rebelriffs blog. Fellow Londoner Al Rowley is the artist, who kindly sent me a copy of his Embers EP to check out. Now considering that this artist cites musicians such as the Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Led Zep as his main inspirations, you would think it would go down well with a child of those times. Well regular readers will know better and the artists who tend to do well with me are the musicians who pay the respectful nod to the Golden Era but come up with music that is purely their own. After all, there are lots of copyists but very few who manage to transcend the whole retro thing. Moreover, when he states 'Al is currently looking for a publishing deal' it's fairly obvious that this is primarily a songwriter.

So, what about the songs?

As you know, I'm a sucker for a good song, especially one based on any of the influences cited, and on that score Al Rowley certainly shows he knows what he's about. Embers, the first track on the EP, although acoustically performed definitely shows that it could grasp your ears. Essentially built around a couple of acoustic guitars, what sound like bongos and voices, Embers shows a laid back musical accompaniment from which the vocals stand out clearly and cleanly. As a song, however, I didn't really feel it carried enough impact for me, whereas Daylight (track 2) fits that bill perfectly; even though the instrumental lineup is pretty much the same. Very nice song indeed and yes, very Radiohead sounding...

King Of The Seasons, like Daylight, is a strong song, especially if you like bands like Snow Patrol, Doves and the like. The thing that only registered with continued playings of these tracks is the very basic, but exceptionally clear, production. It particularly helps this track with its wall to wall acoustic strums and navel gazing vocal. I have to say I that I am not a big fan of this kind of pop rock but King Of The Seasons is strong enough to see off that mere prejudice. At the end, we have Beginnings (if you know what I mean), like King Of The Seasons sounding much more modern than the first couple of tracks, especially the kinda/sorta Chris Martin vocal sound. Ultimately though, the songs are the thing and its surprisingly how little accompaniment can be so effective but it manages excellently highlighting the songs perfectly. Yep, music publishers take note...

Highly Recommended pop rock.

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