Dreamstealer: Girls Are Fun Again

Girls Are Fun Again the new single from funky blues  musician Dreamstealer is one of those quirky and simple pop songs which almost enters the area of guilty pleasure. To be fair it is not close to being cheesy enough to make that fall but there is a small wondering, from one where the harder, louder and more technical something is the better, whether the enjoyment in its company should be as full as it is.

The song is a  piece of blues soaked pop borne from the unique funky blues style of Dreamstealer which the artist developed during his informative music years. Dreamstealer is the one man project of Arno Guveau, a man has been a regular busker on the London Underground in his past. Life to date has seen Guveau tour as a drummer with blues legends Little Tony and Greyhound Levi, playing with the likes of Champion Jack Dupree, Luther Johnston, Louisiana Red and Arthur Conley, and as a producer and mixer working with artists like Manfred Mann, Bob Weston (ex Fleetwood Mac), Stevie Ann, and Louise Latham to name a few. His songwriting also saw him active with bands like Into Seven, Chill Out and The Dreamstealers, every experience going into and evolving his own compositions and style.

The single is the forerunner to his debut solo album Son of the Big Smoke which is released in 2012 and across its tracks the single gives a nice teaser and taster of what to expect. First song Girls Are Fun Again instantly pricks up the ears with its brass swagger and gentle blues guitar whispering. As mentioned the song in all aspects is uncomplicated and uncluttered and makes for an easy and openly infectious pleasure. The chorus is as catchy as the simple hooks to ensure a joining of voices by the second chorus and toes within the first few chords and rhythmic enticements. It is a song where nothing truly stands out but all combines for a simmering vibrancy and warm fun.

The single is a three track release with the second song being the album version of the first track but with a mere ten or so seconds difference in length and nothing tangible in sound to set them apart one wonders if the ear missed something or it is just a filler.

Again from the forthcoming album, the final song is its title track Son of the Big Smoke. The song is another blues flavoured track with a more traditional air to its distinct body. The song and Guveau offer a mix which holds essences of Neil Young and in some ways Paul Simon for a sound which though it is not normally the sugar for our tea, more than left a pleasant flavour within the ear.

Girls Are Fun Again like its subject matter is fun and leaves one with a smile whilst offering intrigue towards what the first album from Dreamstealer will bring to the smoky blues party.

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RingMaster 15/08/2012

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Louise Latham: Reclaimed

The majority of artists whichever medium they immerse within find their full potency from the darker hues and shadows of life, the strongest emotions and instigators of ideas being those from the most extreme intrusions of happiness. Welsh singer songwriter Louise Latham is no different and with her excellent new album Reclaimed has brought forth songs which are borne from the fires of lost and shattered relationships as well as other full shadows. Whether the songs are personally driven or from close contact to the experiences of others there is a passion and breath permeating the album which is heart given not just a simple portrayal. The album though is not a heavy and morose feast but an evolving fusion of light and dark.

Cardiff girl Latham lived and slept the album during its creation. Her promo for the release stating in her own words “I slept next to the Telefunken analogue machine in the studio for the entire two-month period,” and further went on to say “It was quite a magical time, feeling surrounded day and night by the recording process, which for me is a creative process as involved and fulfilling as writing.” The attention spent on the release which she recorded with producer Arno Guveau in his home studio built specifically for the project, is evident in every note musically and vocally as well as the individual emotive atmospheres combining for an overall one of stirring passion and deep reflection.

Though the majestic folk pop sounds of Latham are not those to generally ignite the sparks of burning fires within this heart there was no denying the power and grace of the songwriting and its realisation. It took time but there has emerged a sure connection which will draw one back even after this review is completed even if only to particular songs. The most irresistible thing on the album apart from the songs and the voice of Latham herself was the wonderful use of strings throughout. Never adverse to the seductive haunting caresses of a cello or the inciteful plaintive teases of a violin let alone the instinctive yearning of the double bass, the songs held a mesmeric kiss upon the ear and with the also excellent piano play of Latham each song is a treat for the ear and heart.

I cannot claim each song found an eventual sure home because of simply personal taste but there was never a moment when the album did not have the fullest eager attention and though some tracks may not have left the firmest invitation to return as did others, each beautifully crafted and presented track was a delightful warm collusion of artist and recipient.

Many songs did light up beyond the ear especially the opening Saint. The song is a wonderful expressive admission of the heart, its hypnotic beats and stirring strings creating an impassioned air behind the outstanding touching vocals of Latham. Her voice is powerful and dramatic without losing or deflecting from the heart of the song. She has the perfect balance of insisting on attention without demanding it allowing her dark and often shadowed impressive lyrical composing to reach and touch every thought.

Further tracks like the magical Old Soul a song as haunting as it is emotive, Erase Me a folk rock track to enchant and excite all, and the exceptional Young Boy, only bring strong pleasure. The last pair of this trio reminds a little of Fleetwood Mac, or more Latham does of Stevie Nicks in her irresistible delivery and makes for nothing but pleasure in their company.

With Gilded Bird expansive in sound and emotion and the elegant closing title track seeing out Reclaimed wonderfully, this is an album which will thrill and wake up the emotions of all singer songwriter/folk hearts. For others like us with differently seeded tastes there is still a wealth of near perfect enjoyment to make Louise Latham and Reclaimed worth a sure and prolonged moment of our time.

RingMaster 22/06/2012

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