The NBT Review 3


Alphabet Blues EP – LowStar (Independent Release)

First there is guitar, like a lone rider coming out of the silent mist. Then an army of melody and emotion. We are taken over by the bangPOW rhythms and the glorious shouts of the chorus. This is how the title track wins the day.
Tribal drums and swirling guitar, vocals mixed in the heat of battle, the song ‘Drone’ continues the battle, and then the bassGLIDE intro of ‘Connected’ slides us into the aftermath, flowing and thoughtful.
A trio of shiny forceful rock songs.

Paper Tiger – Sean Fournier (Independent Release)

Fournier produces and plays all the instruments on this his second release, a subtle but multi layered love letter to the too often disregarded singer/songwriter world. We are invited to ‘step inside’ and the galloping guitar of a younger Paul Simon greets us. Even in its many dark moments, the warm and gentle (personal) voice makes the visit here a comforting one.
The songs are arranged with quiet skill and in the heartbreaking ‘she was the green’ the stark vocal sadness is wonderfully counterbalanced by the fade in and fade out of a fuller string and band canvas.
To prove that this isn’t some 70s folk rock homage, Fournier hits us with the wry and pleasantly rude Fiest like ‘Weathervane’ and the flamboyant bittersweet ‘Lie’ making this a collection of songs that lets out it secrets carefully and irresistibly.
There is nothing fake about the fragile here (listen to ‘Weak-I feel like Superman) and no self pity in its soft-smile honesty. And most important of all it has none of the smugness that artists like Jack Johnson let filter through when attempting moods similar to those on this release.

Leaving Kansas – Holly Long (Skim Milk Productions)

The darkness of mortality and the brilliance of redemption, this is an album of personal strength and victory over fear and falling.
The stories captured here are sharply focused, uncluttered and so very real. This is no doom and gloom epic, but is also no shiny happy people holy missive, it realises that even in redemption there is space for dirt and truth.
And truth can be harsh, as in opening track, ‘Brokedown’ where no punches are pulled, but , Whether this is sung to the mirror or directed to another character, the words may just set the woman free.
And the singer knows that when she sings ‘Trust Me’ it cannot be wrapped in sweetness but must allow for the edge of darkness to be believed.
And the singer knows that to haunt (as in ‘bones’) is to seduce and where there is pain light will always follow. You can be saved by the romance of the harmony and the shimmer of the piano.
If anyone fails to be moved and drawn into the world of ‘He and I (For Truman)’ then that poor listener is lost indeed.
A beautifully dark uplifting release.

Bilkis – Bilkis (independent release)

This is the sound of another world, a lo-fi sighing, almost dangerous world. It is the sound of a glass world, a mirror world about to shatter from vibrations and whispers. It is a mix of the scary gypsy queen and the fragile fairy princess.
These are songs stolen shy from reflections upon nervous water.
These are magic chants, revealing what hides beneath the dreaming lovers eyelids.
These are gently twisted Pop songs, they rumble and roll using Folk as a mere departure point
And in ‘make me happy’ lies the secret of Bilkis, tunes that drift by the soul, then dart sideways , sinking sneaking in, and when u go to sleep tonight dear listener
The soundtrack to this other world shall be playing.

Hear these Artists either on the 3rd April NBT Podcast or the 10th April Show.


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