Sara Lowes – The Joy Of Waiting

Photo Credit Emily Dennison

Photo Credit Emily Dennison

There is no other way of saying it, the voice of Sara Lowes is sheer mesmerism, an inescapable siren drawing the listener into adventures which musically transfixes ears and imagination just as potently. Her new album The Joy Of Waiting, is complete evidence of the fact, basking in these bewitching elements and in turn immersing the listener in charming and imaginatively charmed embraces. The successor to her acclaimed debut Back To Creation of 2011, The Joy Of Waiting is a quite simply a soul mate for anyone with a taste of melodic and harmonic alchemy.

Based in Manchester and North East bred, Lowes is the keyboardist in The Earlies and has working with the likes of Daniel Johnston, King Creosote, Jens Lakeman, Jim Noir, Jesca Hoop, and Dawn Landes on her CV. Her music draws on a diverse maze of flavours and styles, classically bred arrangements entwining and invigorating essences from progressive rock to pop, jazz to seventies psychedelia, and more besides. First album Back To Creation, as mentioned drew potent praise and support which The Joy Of Waiting can only emulate and reap greater rewards upon itself. Inspired by J.B Priestley, with a track using his name as a title, and looking at “observations on our perplexing relationships with time”, the lady’s new full-length is a spell of beauty and evocative reflections, and quite breath-taking.

The album’s title track starts things off and immediately is flirting with gypsy folk like strings which swirl provocatively around ears and emotions, their colourful expression joined by just as picturesque keys and melodies. There is a baroque like scent to the piece of music too, an older drama which wraps around the more fiery and sultry climate which emerges as the song continues revealing its heated landscape. Eventually the song drifts away and within a swift taking of a breath, the album swings straight back as Most Things and a riveting pop contagion which is soon dancing with the compelling tones of Lowes its puppeteer. The track is a ridiculously infectious kiss, a quite magnificent encounter courting sixties beat pop vivacity as fizzy tendrils of carnival-esque keys sport a creativity which reminds of The Stranglers Dave Greenfield.

Lowes has a voice which is hard to compare to another, though on the first songs and a few others tracks, she bears a resemblance to Brighton singer songwriter Cate Ferris, the following new saralowes2single I Find You another blissful example. The song is a smoulder of thickly simmering melodies and enchanting harmonies over a great distortion kissed rhythmic tempting. Keys again bring psyche spinning enterprise to spice up the song’s enthralling canvas, whilst the ethereal radiance of voice and surrounding sweltering sounds merge like a mix of Solar Halos and The Capsules. It is pure creative majesty and has ears and appetite enslaved by the time it makes way for the courtly hug of JB Priestley. Lowes straight away has ears and pleasure cupped as orchestral spices back her sunny presence, the opening gentle lure a passage into a feistier but no less radiant stroll of warm jazz seeded pop catchiness. As across all songs, there is a tapestry of different flavours and styles colluding in their support of the vocals, each song as here, as unpredictable as it is immediately accessible and magnetic.

The intimate balladry of Bright Day smooches with the senses next, its refined texture and voice a warm glaze over ears, even if not quite igniting them as its predecessors do. That success, is sublimely achieved by Chapman Of Rimes, a seventies bloomed pop rock flight with celestial harmonies and bold hooks under a blaze of brass seduction, and even more so right after by the excellent With A Mirror. The opening lure of bass and keys with rolling rhythms is enough to seduce unbridled attention for the new song, helped all the more by the vocal hints which whisper within the sultry enticement and rays of brass bred sunshine which light up ears. Like being lost in your lover’s arms, the song strokes and infuses body and thoughts with a romancing croon of voice and sound. That alone would be enough to wax lyrical about the song but with unpredictable and superbly infused twists of ideation amidst wrong-footing turns, the song is a master-class in songwriting and aural theatre.

Given the hard task to follow such a triumph is Little Fishy, and it makes easy work of keeping enjoyment clasped. From a celestial yet intimate soundscape cast by wistful keys and harmonies, the song emerges as something akin to progressive rock and lounge/electro pop, weaving its own virulent aural carnival.

The quiet reflection of For The Seasons calms things down next, the captivation a haunting ballad with a 10CC breeze to its air, before Cutting Room Floor slips into ears and simply radiates elegance and beauty whilst adding further fascinating diversity and invention to The Joy Of Waiting. The song is a gorgeous soar of melodic enterprise setting up the listener enthusiastically for the final pair of songs which are seemingly placed in different order on the physical and digital copy of the album.

The Clock Plays It’s Game provides a melancholic temptation which blossoms with the dark and light suggestiveness of strings against the just as potent call of Lowes’ voice and classically dramatic keys. Maybe not as immediately impacting as other songs, it is a lingering kiss increasing its stature with every listen, whilst Horizons is a track which just lifts emotions and spirit with sublime craft and open relish. Its swirl of hooks and melodies is a gala of folk pop smiles and sixties pop merry making and quite sensational. Whether the last song on the album or not, we suggest you make it that anyway as you leave its company with a song in the heart and melodic manna in the ears, a remedy sure to cure all ills and chase away dark shadows, much like The Joy Of Waiting as a whole really.

The Joy Of Waiting is available now via Railings Records, digitally @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-joy-of-waiting/id963782296 and physically @ http://www.saralowes.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/SaraLowesMusic

RingMaster 25/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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We Were Promised Jetpacks – Unravelling

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Pungent in sound and emotion, Unravelling is a proposition which simultaneously makes a big impact and worms sneakily away under the skin and into the psyche. The new and third album from Scottish rockers We Were Promised Jetpacks, it is a riveting exploration, an adventure capturing ears and imagination like there is no tomorrow. Everything about the album is thick, in rhythmic persuasion, emotive intimacy, and raging melodies, but equally there is a clarity allowing every individual drama to play out their narratives musically and emotionally. The Edinburgh band has never been low on attention grabbing enterprise and songwriting but Unravelling is a coming of age, We Were Promised Jetpacks gracing a new plateau in invention and sonic expression.

Formed in 2008 by friends and vocalist/guitarist Adam Thompson, drummer Darren Lackie, bassist Sean Smith, and guitarist Michael Palmer whilst the four were at University, We Were Promised Jetpacks soon became a potent presence on the Glasgow music scene and almost as quickly were snapped up by FatCat Records. Debut album These Four Walls was unveiled in 2009 to critical acclaim, leading the band to an intense run of shows and festival appearances as well as supporting bands like Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad. After the release of The Last Place You’ll Look EP the following year, the band set about second album In the Pit of the Stomach, which was recorded at Sigur Ros’s Sundlaugin Studios in Iceland. Again fans and media devoured it keenly and with praise whilst the band’s live reach saw them hit the US to great success. Now the band is set to recharge the passions with Unravelling, a release looking lyrically at “the notion of a conflicted protagonist struggling to keep their life on course, while battling a creeping sense of uncertainty and impending doom.” The first release featuring new member and multi-instrumentalist Stuart McGachan, and recorded with Paul Savage (Teenage Fanclub, King Creosote, The Twilight Sad, Mogwai), Unravelling is a tempestuous flight for senses and thoughts. Its climate is sultry and sonically hazy, its emotion tense and tenacious, but mostly the album is simply an inescapable captivation.

Safety In Numbers opens up the release, an increasingly brewing caress of keys the first touch before melodies and shadows slip into the emerging landscape of the song. Thompson’s vocals bring a plainer but no less expressive essence, his Scottish accent adding to the colour of the unveiling narrative. Instantly it is an enthralling persuasion, the walls and intensity of the track growing and thickening as an emotive wash reminding of fellow Scots Letters, immerses the imagination. There is also an unrelenting persistence to the encounter which is almost erosive in its effect, a potency which is never far away from the heart of every song on Unravelling, but a relentless baiting unafraid to share time with flowing enterprise and inventive twists which flirt across the track.

Its successor Peaks And Troughs is the same in many ways, a seduction of even catchier endeavour and sonic ingenuity which blossoms on the muscular and intensive persistence. The bass of Smith digs into darker throatier but virulent temptation whilst the imposing beats of Lackie swing with strong and imposing relish, the combination a gripping core and driving energy upon which the evocative and colourful design of guitar and keys matched by the excellent vocals flourish. The song pushes the strong start up another level with ease, a peak swiftly matched by the shimmering warmth and melodic calm of I Keep It Composed. To that elegant side though, the song explores another almost cavernous expanse of rhythmic intimidation and contagion resulting in an absorbing and hypnotic embrace. Its texture is as thick as smog and presence as radiant as the sun’s touch, and quite scintillating.

The following Peace Sign brings a less intensive and imposing approach to ears but is similarly as chunky in its rhythmic growl and weight and as slim in its excesses. The bass of Smith again excels, swaggering and flirting with grizzled majesty whilst the guitars of Palmer and Thompson weave engrossing structures and hues around the latter’s ever potent vocal suasion. Less an epidemic than a slow infestation with its resourceful might and beauty, the song is dazzling and the perfect set up for the similarly impressing Night Terror. A heavy stroll of beats sets up a frame around electro funk revelry at first, keys and drums subsequently aligning for a bubbly and vivacious coaxing before a sultry haziness kisses the surface of all and a Josef K like causticity treats the senses. It is an intrigue drenched offering which is less urgent and compulsive than previous songs whilst giving a new aspect to the album’s expanding character and richly satisfying experience.

The dark and moody drama of Disconnecting comes next; weighty keys spawning a sinister, noir wrapped climate within which vocals shimmer and percussion dances. It is a slow haunting embrace with sinew sculpted textures and melancholic radiance, which may not quite match those tracks before it in some ways but surpasses them in menacing scenery and emotional shading. Its success is matched by both Bright Minds and A Part Of It, the first a lighter but no less emotionally attentive encounter and its successor a rawer, abrasing swamp of sonic mystique and craft around a hungry rhythmic persuasion. Again neither quite lives up to the opening clutch of songs but certainly bring new delicious twists to the flight and emotional examination of the album.

Through the darker air and almost predatory intent of the excellent Moral Compass, a song just as striking in its melodic grace as it is in its bordering on caustic breath, and the mesmeric almost stately beauty of Peace Of Mind, band and album enslave ears and thoughts majestically. The almost epic instrumental grandeur of the second of the pair is a journey all of its own, the imagination unavoidably wrapped up and sparking from its sonic emprise, before final song Ricochet provides a lasting tempest of dramatic clouds and melodic tenacity within another blistering frame of invention and emotion.

Unravelling is an album which grips from the off but makes an even greater and thrilling impression the more time it is allowed to submerge and colour the senses. It is the finest hour of We Were Promised Jetpacks with ease and surely the doorway to a new level of attention and fervour towards the band’s spellbinding sound.

Unravelling is available via FatCat Records now @ http://fatcat.sandbaghq.com/we-were-promised-jetpacks-unravelling.html

http://www.wewerepromisedjetpacks.co.uk

RingMaster 14/10/2014

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