dinsdag 17 april 2018

Seeing Things. Eb & Sparrow

And another record from down under reaches this tiny part of the northern hemisphere. Thanks to a news letter by Flying Nun Records from New Zealand it is easy to keep up with what would otherwise most likely have remained hidden. Add to that global connectors like Spotify and it is no trouble at all to keep up with these far off releases.

So Eb & Sparrow is from New Zealand. The centre piece is Ebony Lamb, who is the voice and the guitarist of Eb & Sparrow. Her songs hold elements of country to which all sorts of things are added, making the music have little to do with the country & western I abhorred when I was young.

If one word has to describe the music on Seeing Things, it has to be atmosphere. The mood on this album is like a cloudy day in summer. No sun in sight really, yet warm. No wind, but that could be a matter of moments, just like the sun could break through unexpectedly, yet in all its glory. There's no way of telling where the weather is going to go. Just like that type of weather the music on Seeing Things is laden with suspense. Through the spacious mix, the effects on the voice and the guitars. Everything is downcast, without minding it for one moment. It is here that the beauty of Eb & Sparrow's music derives from. As beauty it is and this album's is filled to the brim with it.

The album opens with a topic setting the scene with only one word: 'Death'. A part of life nobody really wants to be reminded of. Ignoring its inevitability is probably one of the best character traits humans have developed. Dark, muted sounds weave themselves into my ears, before Ebony Lamb joins it. A trumpet, a violin all have a part in this dirge.

Luckily it doesn't remain this bleak. The clear sounding guitars in 'To The West' give the song a 60s flavour. Like the melancholy songs of The Shangri-Las, with only one singer. And not a teenage drama in sight.

So Cat Power comes to mind, but also Belgian band TMGS as soon as the clear trumpets enter 'Settle'. Its 'Rivers And Coastlines: The Ride' is full of these trumpets and modern country music. Another Belgian band Vaya Con Dios comes by in the way Ebony Lamb sings in 'Working'. At the end of this song the thunder finally breaks loose. All of a sudden nothing is held back any longer, leading to an explosion of sound and energy.

As a contrast a little Lana del Rey enters the album in 'Prodigal'. Not so much as a copy of the U.S. singer, no for that 'Prodigal' has its own uniqueness. Ebony Lamb's voice can handle all sort of styles successfully and make it her own I find. It leads to one of the most beautiful songs on Seeing Things. All the sounds coming in over the soft drumming and bass. Long held notes on an organ and clear, twangy notes on the lead guitar. An absolute highlight this song is. "I'm dying, sweet Lord I'm dying" are the final words of the song. Luckily I do not have to take this literally. The album ends with the most traditional one on this album, a country-noir song called 'My Old House', with a 'Twin Peaks' twang on the lead guitar.


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1 opmerking:

  1. Found on Twitter @ebandsparrow: "Whoa thanks for the really superb review x!"