Single Review – Gabrielle Aplin – Slip Away

Gabrielle Aplin’s second studio album Light Up The Dark is on it’s way at the end of the week and another single in ‘Slip Away’ has been unveiled to draw a final emphasis on Gabrielle’s more rock orientated and anthemic second effort. Though a comparatively steadier track compared to the title track, it still offers up sharp percussion and delicately placed riff with the scope to push to tonal peaks throughout and for Aplin to follow suit with her clearly developed vocals. The songs on this album, much like the singles are nothing particularly special musically, structurally or in terms of production, but one thing these tracks have shown is that Gabrielle Aplin is much better vocalist, songwriter and deliverer of music than we might have previously given her credit for.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Lucy Rose – Work It Out Review

The nice and breezy folk pop that was Lucy Rose’s debut Like I Used To from 2012 was an easy and safe way to get herself established as a solo artist, dipping into the fan-base of Bombay Bicycle Club and others. With her second studio album Work It Out Lucy put an emphasis on her development from her first album and that’s encouraging thing when tackling the well worn notion of the notorious second album and without the safety of her first album being an option for a second, development just has to be the all encompassing term to accompany the album.

‘Our Eyes’ shows that a change of direction seems to be evident. From this she has moved away from the folk-ish elements of her work to a more groove orientated track with prominent bass-lines fused with airy riffs and synth chords. Despite the tumbling percussion, it makes for a subtle track led by her soft wistful vocals that move beyond intimacy and towards melodic hooks. The track has a basic sense of building and deconstructing sound to fixate the listener and provide a peak in sound which is a sure sign of a good pop tune. A solid effort here. ‘I Tried’ is very much set against the light beats of ‘Our Eyes’ and offers up a more considerate approach with simple piano-ballad instrumentation accentuated by echoed percussion and Lucy’s vocal in perfect isolation. From this the song grows darker and bolder with rumbling electronica in the chorus and her isolated and clear vocal becoming a little more distorted and muted. It is a great example of a darker and shadowy song of contemplation which she delivers with all grace and eloquence. ‘Cover Up’ take that rumbling electronica and applies it to a light dance track with the soft beats bouncing off it along with Lucy’s higher, quick-fire vocal. The vocal fluctuates as the electronica sweeps and shifts and features her distorted vocal that’s fed back in reverse in intervals throughout the song. A brilliantly produced song which pulls off a more complex song structure.

‘Like An Arrow’ leans a little more towards the breezy folk pop style of her debut, but at least here she expands upon it with the cushioned beats of a drum machine and an instrumentation that spreads and grows with sweeping riffs and strings. The song perhaps looks a little tame next to the first two singles though. ‘Into The Wild’ is an intimate folk track with the soft scratchy riffs and the echo applied to them and her vocal which is as finely poised and melodic as ever. These tracks do go against the aim of development and whilst delivered well and adding depth to the album, it does little to raise the album to something higher and is too familiar to engage with enthusiastically. ‘Koln’ is a more expansive guitar driven track which offer up nice peaks and troughs musically and allows Lucy to test her vocals, yet tracks like ‘My Life’ see her falling into her comfort zone again. Tracks like ‘Work It Out’ have that bigger, shaking production and really seem to have a purpose too. It’s an odd album. An album of two sides. One side of her album features her gradually developed and expansive sound and methods whilst the other features those idling English countryside daydreams that are distant from musical reality. With Work It Out Lucy has went in the right direction with one foot into that reality, but she’s not quite there yet.

Lucy Rose – Work It Out = 7/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Laura Marling – Short Movie Review

Laura Marling Announces New Album Short Movie, Shares Animated Video for Title Track

Laura Marling’s latest self-produced album, Short Movie, has a defiant edge which is making people talk. The record is somewhat different from her previous offerings; more complex and seemingly more mature, demanding listen after listen as you attempt to figure out her intentions whilst fully appreciating her song-writing talents.

In Short Movie Marling swaps her acoustic for an electric guitar in many tracks, which represents a shift away from the standard folk sound which she is so heavily associated with. There’s no doubt that Marling will always be known as one of the key players in the folk revival of recent years, but in Short Movie she truly modernises her sound and demonstrates that her musical abilities cover more than just folk. The tracks on Short Movie have more layers and textures than her previous albums which have been a little more simplistic. Whether it be soaring strings in the background, insistent, fast-paced percussion or Marling using her voice to capture the emotion of song, there is more to listen to than just a girl and her guitar. Throughout this album she demonstrates her impressive range, alternating between high, girlish falsetto and a deep, velvety hum which has the ability to creep over you and almost give you goosebumps.

The defiance comes not only with the larger, louder sound that comes with her electric, layered tracks; it can be seen in her lyrics, too, which are often sarcastic and somewhat cynical. “Strange”, for instance, sees Marling commenting on what could be a man who seeks love from someone besides his wife and children; “Do your best to be a good man, Do you know how hard that is?” She speaks rather than sings, and seems to hold back a contemptuous laugh at the end of each line that makes you want to laugh along with her. On “Don’t Let Me Bring You Down”, Marling states “I’m a woman now, would you believe?” This line is perhaps a hark back to the way in which her rise to fame happened at such a young age. At 16 Marling was causing a stir in the nu-folk scene in London, and at 18 years of age she released her first studio album. Five albums later, and with a stack of nominations and two awards under her belt, Marling is now a superstar in both Europe and the US; she has grown up and so has her music, and her defiance throughout Short Movie demands that we listen and take note of what she has learnt along the way.

Laura Marling – Short Movie = 8/10

Ellie Scott @elliemaryscott

Single Review – Darren Campbell – Remember You

Darren Campbell is a talented singer/songwriter from Dundee and generally plays out an acoustic or folk leaning rock and pop sound which is something that continues to be moving to the forefront of British music with the likes of Jake Bugg on one side of the spectrum, to Gabrielle Aplin on the other. Darren is one you should look out for in this light in the future if that’s what you’re drawn to most, but likewise if you’re a fan of grabbing onto melodic hooks, acoustic rhythms and powerful yet subtle hinted vocals then you’ll enjoy him too. Especially his latest single ‘Remember You’. They have the aforementioned traits that opens with the steady rhythm of the acoustic guitar and is built upon by the lead guitar’s gentle and easy melody. Darren’s vocals give the song an extra element of fluidity as they rise and fall in tone while the utilise they percussion well during the fade before the last go of the chorus to instantly build the sound back up which acts as a bonus hook if you like. The lyrics are ones that almost anyone can relate to or understand due to the telling of love and the loss of it. The musical arrangement manipulates them and projects the emotive feel well. Simple yet effective. Remember You is out now so take a look at the link below and see what you think.

http://youtu.be/cCdggE70VcE

Image from https://www.facebook.com/darrencampbellsmusic