In a time where each day and every twist within it brings some form of tension or reflection of humanity’s quest for self destruction, we need a place to escape, to embrace a calming beauty within the chaos. One such place is the new album from UK duo Some Kind of Illness. The mesmeric Awakening is an oasis in the turbulence, a realm of elegant ambiences and warm melodies and though shadows and melancholy equally line the flight of the release they are all part of the evocation guiding ears and thoughts to an experience reflecting the album’s title.
Hailing from Farnworth, Some Kind of Illness is the creation of brothers Mark and Paul Hinks. The project emerged around 2014 bringing an alternative/indie guitar sound which swiftly drew positive attention especially with the release of the pair’s self-titled debut album in 2015 By then the band had become a busy proposition on the surrounding live scene and played numerous iconic venues across Manchester and Liverpool spreading out across the UK as well as shared stages with the likes of Tom Hingley and The Jackals and going into the following year, The Primitives. 2016 also saw the again highly praised release of second full-length Souls as well as the unveiling of Nick Connors’ film Northern Lights for which they wrote the soundtrack.
With Awakening, the pair has explored the qualities and depths of a retro Roland D-50 synthesizer and an 808 Drum machine around their weaving of guitar suggestion. The album also moves within a lighter climate of emotion in comparison to its predecessors, again its title echoed across tracks which are unafraid to hug shadows and darker feelings but explore the beauty in all. It opens with the instrumental caress of its title track, keys and guitars wrapping each other’s grace in a slowly revolving flume of temptation. Its hypnotic beauty is followed by the equally calm climate of Neon Glass though immediately beats are a lively lure. There is a great eighties post punk/new wave feel to the track, bands such as Human League in its first guise and Eyeless in Gaza coming to mind as the song seduces the imagination.
No More Waiting embraces similar hues within its gentle hug of ears; its ethereal atmosphere warmly clinging to the vocal declaration before the pop kiss of Violet Dream floats over the senses like the morning mist on an autumn day. The song features the enchanting tones of Hara Su, an engaging spice on the beguiling melodies of guitar and keys which tease ears. There is a hint of discord to the track too, a whiff of unsettlement which sparks thoughts as potently as the reflective prowess of word and tone.
The captivation continues through the Slowdive-esque Memories In A Window and the instrumental whispering of Ledana, both tracks an individual province of melodic suggestiveness and emotional intimation which lure ears and thoughts away from a moment of reality. They in turn are followed and matched in temptation by Cyclone which welcomes the innocence graced tones of Daisy Davies as it immerses the senses.
The dark touches of the real world continue to be eluded with the celestial flight of Icarus, its lofty beguiling atmosphere lined with darker omens as keys and vocals float across the rich captivation while with its own off world spatial hints, Snowflakes gently falls around the poetic portrait cast by Virginia Martelozzo. Each is a bewitchment which almost haunts the senses before the shoegaze shadows of Crystal Light bring the release to a lucent close. Melodies sparkle off of its energetic slumber, vocals similarly a vibrant lure into the track’s radiant depths.
It is a fine end to an album which simply grows more beguiling and impressive listen by listen. We all need an escape from the surrounding tempest, the compelling echoes and layers of Awakening just might be yours.
Awakening is available now @ https://somekindofillness1.bandcamp.com/album/awakening-lp
Pete RingMaster 16/09/2017
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