A year or so ago I had the great pleasure of reviewing the debut album by Berlin born, now London based singer-songwriter Roxanne de Bastion, the disc, The Real Thing, was something of a revelation, a stunning blend of 60’s influenced folk and blues topped with the most incredible, evocative voice you can possibly imagine. The album not only grabbed my attention but also the likes of Artrocker, BBC Introducing, 6Music and XFM all championed Roxanne and her mesmeric debut, with Artrocker even going as far as to make such comparisons as Martha Wainwright, Joni Mitchell and Laura Marling, whilst the BBC stated “if you ever get the chance to see her live-definitely do”.
Well now Roxanne is back, building on that initial success, with a brand new four track EP, entitled Seeing You and again showcasing her unique songwriting talent and emotive delivery with a quartet of songs that should, in a just world, see de Bastion become something of a household name.
The EP opens with the title track, a subtle blend of acoustic guitar and pattered percussion are interspersed with a tasty slice of electric slide guitar, whilst Roxanne’s vocals have something of a celtic folk tinge that instantly hooks you into lovelorn tale.
From there Roxanne delivers the delicate, Wasteland, a beautiful bewitching, hushed number lamenting the demise of the East Side Gallery in Roxanne’s native Berlin, with it’s lulling instrumentation and Roxanne’s inviting croon, the listener is encouraged to shut out the outside world and concentrate completely on the compelling story told within the three and a half minute duration. Rerun continues the soft, delicate vibe with Roxanne again delivering a beautiful, emotive vocal over a gorgeous understated mix of piano and strings that further intoxicate the listener.
The EP finishes on Same Moon, a solo acoustic number with whispered vocals and fragile finger picked guitar weaving a magical spell proving again that less is more, as Roxanne seduces with her stripped back to basics approach and heart warming vocal croon.
Seeing You is a lovely EP that showcases a singer-songwriter at the very top of her game, one of those rare releases that you want to immerse yourself completely in, perhaps with a light fruity glass of red and the lights down low, mesmeric from start to finish.
Rhythm & Booze Rating 9
Larkin Poe are Atlanta based, sisterly duo, Rebecca And Megan Lovell who are distantly related to wordsmith Edgar Allen Poe (their great, great, great, great grandfather Larkin Poe was a distant cousin to Edgar) hence the chosen monicker. Along with the name nodding back to the past, musically the duo’s debut album also has something of a retro sound, hailing back to an era of mega-selling classic rock (Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, The Band etc), which may surprise a few long-term fans following a plethora of more rustic EP releases.
The album opens with the high spirited bluesy stomp of Jailbreak, which serves as a stunning state of intent featuring rolling rhythms, infectious riffs, rich harmonies and a beautiful, yet gritty lead vocal, that instantly grabs you by the lapel and squeezes tight until the end of the duration of the track. From the powerful opener, Larkin Poe continue to thrill a delicious swaggering riff, a hook-laden chorus and those undeniable poppy harmonies on the equally glorious Don’t.
From there the band continue to weave a mesmeric spell with tough rockers and brooding ballads. Stubborn Love hints at the band’s previous rootsy feel complete with mandolin and lap steel prominent in the evocative mix alongside a lovely shaken percussion assisted groove and a delightful cooed lead vocal. Either Dandelion or Elephant could be Larkin Poe’s big breakthrough song, both have something of a modern r&b feel, with the former a brooding ballad, whilst the latter could be a genuine dance-floor filler with it’s punchy rhythm and the Lovell sisters delivering a massive vocal hook chorus that’s crying out to be reverberating out the biggest PA possible.
Jesse sounds like it could be influenced by those classic Parisian chansons, as the band create a magnetic swirling European 60’s groove whilst the sisterly duo deliver a sensual and passionate vocal (though without the French accent!!!) that has something of a timeless feel, whilst album closer, Overachiever is a beautiful conclusion to the album, piano led harmony enriched ballad that truly wrenches at the heartstrings.
Kin is a varied, compelling debut by a band that have explored and expanded their sound to create something that’s very special indeed, I urge you to discover the new expansive sound of the incredible Larkin Poe.
Rhythm & Booze Rating 10
Hollie April is a twenty-two year singer-songwriter who originally hails from Gibraltar, she first start writing songs at a young age and since those formative years has become an undergraduate at Leeds college of music where she represented the conservatoire at showcases for the likes of Sony, Island Records and Steinway. From there Hollie tasted the festival circuit, opening the mainstage of the Gibralter Music Festival as well as appearing at the Gibralter Jazz Festival.
Hollie released her debut EP, Marionette to great praise, with the track The Sun And The Sea being noted for particular praise from the likes of Soundcloud among others.
Together Alone is the follow-up single which see Hollie gain more support and plaudits, the track is a stunning near six-minute alternative folk epic that opens with Hollie’s mesmeric vocals and acoustic guitar, before developing with added dramatic drums, soaring melodies and Hollie showcasing that jaw dropping vocal range to the full. Hollie’s vocal ability is simply incredible, her voice oozes and simmers with emotion before lifting to a powerful crescendo, whilst the musical accompaniment augments the vocals to dazzling effect.
If the passion and delivery of Together Alone is anything to judge on Hollie April is destined for big things in the alternative folk field and beyond, personally I can’t wait to hear more from this young singer-songwriter.
Rhythm & Booze Rating 10
In essence Teenage Wildlife is the work of Shoreditch based John Wright, a renowned film maker and photographer who has worked on films for numerous fashion labels such as Dior and Louis Vuitton as well Vanity Fair and more recently GQ magazine among others.
John has been writing and recording music for numerous years with his material being used as part of the various aforementioned campaigns among others. John was encouraged to create the Teenage Wildlife persona as a means to release his musical output after working with numerous names in the music industry otffered him support. Most Beautiful Thing/The Last Great Love Affair is the first release under the Teenage Wildlife monicker and serves as an interesting starting point.
Both tracks sees multi-instrumentalist John create an intriguing combination of electro soul using synths, keyboards, loops and beats, Most Beautiful Thing also features an unknown yet recognisible female singer delivering a glorious soulful vocal that John loops over a glitchy dub inspired mix to create a lovely slice of modern R&B. The Last Great Love Affair is a little more jumbled, with beats obscuring the delicate vocals a little and yet it’s still an intriguing number (though I’d prefer it stripped back a little).
As starting points go this two-track single is a welcoming opening gambit from an obviously talented artist, it’ll be interesting to hear where John Wright takes the Teenage Wildlife project next.
Rhythm & Booze Rating 7
Band Of Holy Joy are London based practitioners of the gutter lament, evocative chanson like ballads that bring to mind the likes of Divine Comedy or the criminally underrated Costeau, a band (that like the aforementioned) that create slow burning odes to the human condition that weave an undeniable mesmeric spell with their compelling mix instrumentation and Johny Brown’s brooding croon.
In recent times the author Irvine Welsh proclaimed Band Of Holy Joy’s album Easy Listening to be his “favourite album of the year so far” whilst the likes of Mojo, The Mirror and The Wire all agreed, with favourable reviews of the album.
Band Of Holy Joy’s follow up the acclaimed album with a brand new single, entitled A Place To Call Home, a track that explores living in the inner city and a song that also goes some way to showcase the timeless sound of the
The track is a moody provocative piece that casts a magical spell, the slow, precise structure draws the listener in, before Johny delivers that sensational darkened soulful croon, lyrically the track is captivating, original and inventive, whilst musically the instrumentation draws you in.
There are very few acts that have the same draw as Band Of Holy Joy, few can create such an atmospheric sound whilst even less have a frontman with same aching voice of Johny Brown, if you’ve not heard the band yet, I urge you track down, at the very least this single and prepare yourself to be seduced by the brooding sounds of the human condition.
Rhythm & Booze Rating 9
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