Storm & The Dales: Delusions Of Grandeur EP

Bringing a lively slice of melodic indie folk with a breath borne from the sixties, Delusions Of Grandeur, the new EP from UK band Storm & The Dales, makes for a release which fires up the imagination whilst unlocking a well of future promise. The five tracks which make up the release bring a strong variety to their imaginative presences and though some moments elevate to greater heights than others, the EP triggers good emotions and thoughts with accomplished ease.

Storm & The Dales is the solo project of Dublin based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dean Smyth, a musician who has reaped years of live music experience to bring a full and emotive depth to his songs. His experiences from a wealth of collaborations with other artists around the world has also added to and shaped his songwriting for a distinctive body to his music and lyrical creativity. The Delusions Of Grandeur EP is the perfect evidence, a collection of tracks which approach relationships lyrically and ideas musically with a shapely design to their essences.

The release opens with It’s Not Me It’s You and takes no time in holding the attention of ear and mind. The song has a distinct sixties swagger to its strong heart, the pop lightness a warm caress over the ear. The vocals of Smyth unveil the passionate tale with a delivery as emotive as the guitar play and easily outweigh the less than appealing harmonies which poke their noses in once or twice. It is a minor quibble in the context of the song their inadequacies lost in the shadow of the lean yet heated elegance of the track brought with a keen and expressive breath.

The good start is surpassed by the excellent Heart And Soul, a song which captures the imagination from its very first sweep of cymbal and contagious beats. Accompanied by a smouldering ambience to match the tender guitar, all the elements within the song combine to lay a shimmering haze of melodic seduction behind the again open vocals of Smyth, whilst the hypnotic teasing of the track breaks into moments of fiery imagination to leave extra  psychedelic trails across its skies and deepen the enthralling engagement. It is a rewarding encounter rarely matched in the rest of the release.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a song which feels very familiar without arguably offering anything recognisable, though again the sixties whispers leads all thoughts. It is a more than decent song which leaves plenty of incentive to check out more of the melodic enterprise from the band whilst itself offering a pleasing engagement within the ear.  The sharp guitar play is the highlight of the track whilst parts of the vocals harmonies again fall short of personal preferences but with no real damage to the appeal of the song.

The same cannot be said of Bad Little Girl, the one time the EP failed to ignite any real positivity. The song is an uncomplicated acoustic based slice of pop which recalls the likes of Herman’s Hermits to name one sixties band, but with its shallow production and depth as well as substance lacking vocals it just does not inspire any real reaction, something the impressive No Love does with skill and sure captivation. The closing track is a mesmeric slice of emotive grandeur big on atmosphere and passion. The dramatic piano expression evokes numerous thoughts and feelings whilst the unexpected sonic tinkering unbalances those mental assumptions and emotions wonderfully. It is a heavyweight song encapsulating the craft and distinct thought of the songwriting from Smyth and with Heart And Soul, surely is the direction the artist should pursue to greater acclaim and recognition such their power and craft.

Delusions Of Grandeur though not without a few flaws, is a release which engages the senses and future expectations with strength and imaginative style. The production could have been better to beef up the less powerful parts and further spark passion for those that work very well, but for the main the songs elevate themselves beyond their limitations to declare Storm & The Dales as a project to follow keenly and closely.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Storm-The-Dales/255002084546214

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/delusions-of-grandeur-ep/id573344864

RingMaster 19/11/2012

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