Having teased us all in regard to their new album with recently released single They Call Her Leaf, Paul Menel and The Essentials have offered a bigger insight into in their forthcoming full-length with a five track sampler. Primarily a promotional tool to awaken media attention, all we can say is if the five tracks within its walls are an indication of the album to come, the band has a sure-fire success on their hands with Spare Parts for Broken Hearts.
Led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Paul Menel, an artist who fronted prog rock band IQ from 1985 to 1990 and whose previous solo albums in Carpenter From Nazareth Seeks Joiners and Into Insignificance I Will Pale have met with increasing success and acclaim, the band is proving itself to be one of the bright winds on the British rock scene. The line-up is completed on the Gav Monaghan produced Spare Parts for Broken Hearts by bassist Steve Swift and drummer Tim Churchman but also sees numerous guest appearances including Vix Vox of Fuzzbox who features on the opening song from the sampler, that latest single They Call Her Leaf.
From its initial tingle of melodic guitar the song is perpetual captivation, escalating its potency as the strong vocals of Menel join rich melodies and resonating beats. Shadows come from a tasty, if understated, bassline whilst atmosphere and suggestive expression oozes from every aspect of the aural fascination. There is no escaping a Peter Gabriel essence to the flowing folkish charm and dramatic colourful of the song it has to be said, but it is a hue only adding to the refreshing imagination and originality flowing freely around and in the vocal roar of Menel. With the siren tones of Vox equally entrancing within the richly flavoured fusion of progressive and classic rock, The track is a master of ears, and just as powerful and irresistible after a torrent of plays as it was first time around.
The second song on the sampler is Walk In My Shoes, a glow of voice and emotive melodies spread further by harmonies and keys. The song quickly reveals a different shade to the sound and songwriting of Menel and band, its classic elegance and emotive intensity a warm slice of thick balladry. It is a potent and powerful proposition but not one which sparks with personal tastes and that is the only issue it has, just trying to please someone missing an appetite for its kind of temptation.
There is going to be plenty of rock ‘n’ roll diversity across Spare Parts for Broken Hearts going by this early taster too, the third song Strife strong evidence with its glorious post-punk/Bond like hook and steamy blues toned flame of guitar. Equally there is a theatre in the jungle of rhythms and expressive vocals which leave their addictive bait across the fifties/sixties laced rocker, all uniting in a glorious incitement as individual as the rest of the songs and equally riveting.
The title track from Spare Parts for Broken Hearts is another striking tempting on the sampler. Opening on a worldly chorus and also developing a bassline and stirring core as much punk as it is melodic rock, the track soon breaks into a feisty canter enveloped in a tapestry of melodies and varied styles; all the time increasing its virulent persuasion. Strings, brass, and keys serenade as robust rhythms lead the unpredictable and addictive waltz into igniting ears and imagination.
The final early look at the album on this release is Let’s Do It, another Gabriel-esque seduction loaded with a cosmopolitan air and world bred rhythms bred with shamanic hypnotism. There are glimpses of almost every flavour and corner of the globe somewhere within the scintillating party of the song, its title a suggestion you can only embrace and apply to checking out the full Spare Parts for Broken Hearts album when it is soon unveiled.
We will be there and hopefully you too as this sampler more than hints that there is something very special awaiting us.
The single They Call Her Leaf is out now via most online stores.
Pete RingMaster 30/09/2015
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