We can probably all agree that the recent lockdowns the world has endured offered few things which could be felt as particularly good but it has inspired the artistic explorations of a great many. UK singer songwriter Glenn Eastoe is one who used the time and solitude to explore his creativity with the recording of a new solo album the result. Created in the comfort of his home with the minimal of equipment, “Learning to record on the fly” and leaning on previous experience of recording with his previous band, he has brought experiences and feelings together in the shape of Freedom In Isolation, a collection of songs which bear the minimalistic and solitude of these pandemic gripped times but cast sparks for the imagination with beauty and fertile enterprise.
Manchester hailing Eastoe will be better known to a great many as the vocalist of rock band The Simpletone, a now sadly demised outfit who gave us the outstanding album, Angels’ Share in 2016. Freedom In Isolation suggests similar if not stronger recognition is waiting around the corner as the recently released album spreads its temptation across ears and spotlights. Eastoe’s new release is a multi-flavoured acoustically nurtured affair often springing fully blown rock songs on eager ears with its melodic rock seeds and heart but an adventure unafraid to embrace folk, progressive, southern rock and indie hues to its breast. Much of the songwriting coincided during the recording and at times there is no escaping the challenging feel of that mentally and physically claustrophobic time.
Mixed and produced by former Simpletone guitarist John Davison who also added his musical dexterity across the release, Freedom In Isolation made an immediately potent impact through opener I’ll Wait. A gentle distant caress strokes attention initially, Eastoe’s familiar tones soon serenading the imagination in sound and words as his guitar caresses. Already captivation was firmly set, the strings of his acoustic a poetic dance on ears around lyrics wrapped in the singer’s warm dusky tones which equally fascinated. The song is superb with not for the last time across the release in some ways reminding of Julian Cope in writing and temptation.
The outstanding start continues as Bigger Than That dances with the senses next; it’s warm jangle and magnetic bassline aligning with Eastoe’s potent vocals. As with its predecessor, there is an inherent infectiousness to the song which borders on poppy, the slice of rock ‘n’ roll soon under the skin manipulating reactions before A Million Miles evokes thoughts with its gentle sway and intimate reflection. Even though beats are electronically cultured the organic nature of the song easily embraces them, vocals and melodies seducing full attention as country rock vines entwine the temptation.
The shadow wrapped Ungrateful Dead also simply seduced ears next, the harmonics of vocals alone a compelling aspect in the song’s tempestuous beauty. A collusion of darkness and light, words like an echo of the intimate conflict which has emotionally fought within us all in recent times, it is another track which had us, like the nimble fingers on strings it embraces, beguiled while Funky Dress only provoked hips and body to sway with its instinctive catchiness. Whether calm and smiling or fiery and roaring, the song easily provoked greater greed for the release.
Moonshine Waiting shares a folkish hue in its summery rock stroll, the lively ballad bound in melodic radiance which again had us smiling inside with The Big Red feeding that feel good buzz with its more muscular indie rock roar. Actually both tracks took a touch longer to grip instincts as others within the album but each certainly grew to inflame our appetites, a similar course and success taken by River and its folk borne glory. To be honest Eastoe’s voice had ears gripped from the first minute of the song and only beguiled thereon in, his vocals arguably even more striking since we last heard from him.
The transfixing almost rapturous Allies in Isolation again only held unbridled attention with its mercurial landscape and character, mellow reflection and tempestuously intense declaration aligning in its compelling body before Free beings the album to a close, the song a contagious indie pop saunter celebrating the removing of shackles however that may apply or relate to personal experiences.
We say last song and that is certainly all the songs listed for the digital release but our promo of the release also ends with Hand To Help so we may as well tell you about it as the track is a tantalising piece of psych kissed seduction which hugs and soothes the darkness as sultry skies shimmer over head escalating the temptation.
And that is Freedom in Isolation, an album which brought warmth and pleasure to the shadows of the day and reminded us that Glenn Eastoe is a potent protagonist of the UK rock scene.
Freedom in Isolation is available now @ https://glenneastoe.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 21/08/2020