The NBT Review 5
Easy Way Out
Reviewed by Martin Smit
Reviewed by William Elliot
Steal The Show – Easy Way Out (Independent Release)
From the first seconds of the first track, ‘Fade Or Shine’ the listener is taken from his silence straight into the soul of the band. There is no timid build up of intent here; the mix of tripping running galloping rap and smooth sigh counter vocals hits you head on.
Sly bass leads into ‘What You Want’ and the casual confidence of the band takes over, you know the screams might come later along with angry power chords and frantic drum rolls, (the very next track in fact) but first the swagger.
This is an album of many potential singles, but never once feels fake or too thought out; there is no committee here, just five musicians totally in tune with eachother. Happily lost in the sounds and thoughts they want to create.
In the track ‘Beat Down’ the band have a monster of a song, destined to be played on car radios and sweaty club sound systems across the universe. It will never age or grow tired.
Electrosoul – Natalia (Independent Release)
One genre welcomed for its return, in my Indie heart at least, is the crafted sad/happy electro pop. Its seemingly easy tingle-tangle of heartbreak and cheerful dance, seems so simple, but so few get it right. Get it to the right degree of neon glow sway, innocent hope and tragic giggles. Electrosoul does all this and so much more.
Adding equal measures of Robyn and Human League to a gentle self-assurence, this insanely catchy collection is the perfect antidote to the bored cynicism of the Avrils and Gwens of the mainstream world.
With hooks worthy of a Sugababes writer, but with an added touch of much needed regret and honesty, this is a Pop (with a capital and Proud P) album that stays the distance.
Standout track of a VERY good bunch for me is ‘Fierce Explosion’ a song that soars so subtle and so free.
The remix of ‘My Life’ included here is perfect Dancefloor.
Time To Play – Kevin Hahn (Solo-Crossroads Entertainment)
It must be summer, it must be time for a ‘Car Ride’, it must be time for the infectious boogie folk of Kevin Hahn’s latest.
Utilising touches of Folk, Jazz and Country the songs are the perfect antidote to the past long dark winter.
Hahn has a personal warm vocal, often skipping around the lyrics with a smile worthy glee. To top it all he has a tight backing band that rocks out when needed and plays cool when wanted.
The Album breaks no new ground really, but that is not really the object of this extremely beautifully played handful of songs. It is pop/rock done with skill, simplicity and a delightful exuberance.
Dandylion Daughters – Dandylion Daughters (Independent Release)
You know how a hectic thrilling electrical storm both delights and scares you a bit, How you are seduced by the constant violence of the downpour? And taken outside of yourself by the wicked flashes of lightning and thunder?
This EP reminds me of that.
There is a stillness at the heart of this chaos, an acceptance at the core of this anger, that sublimely connects and protects, while at the same time scratching at the nervous system.
Having heard some of Paul Abrey’s later solo work, the mixture of stillness and shivers becomes obvious, but taken as a creature all on its own, this EP, shoots out the hidden and the blatant with equal cruel grinning love.
As sharp as a young mind after four cups of coffee, Paul Abrey and the Dandylion Daughters prove they are an act to watch and listen out for.
Drawn – Laura Marie (independent release)
A lot of music, even beautifully played, exceptional music, allows the listener to stay at a distance from it. It pleases you makes you (possibly) sway, and sometimes if you are lucky, may even delight you.
But you never connect.
With an artist like Laura Marie, you discover the total opposite to this. You are invited into her soul home and then.. well
Secrets maybe revealed, personal tales maybe told, her world her thoughts, her adventures shared.
You are invited to connect.
Take the wry ‘This Time’ a song about release and independence, but also a song not afraid to make gentle fun of the singer herself, and there in lies its strength. No hate song here, but hope song instead.
The people Laura Marie sing about are Flawed, human and worth saving, a lot of this album seems to be about second chances, quiet redemption and fragile softly glowing futures.
A core song in this set is ‘In Code’ telling us to look beneath/beyond the face, the shrugs, the smiles, it offers up the chance to see beyond the code and catch for ourselves some kind of truth.
Drawn offers this with every word and chord.
An album that reveals and delights more with every listen