Tuesday, 2 May 2017

INDIA ELECTRIC COMPANY/CHRISTY SCOTT/ REED

CD Reviews

EC1M


Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe, who are collectively India Electric Company (IEC), are both clever and engaging musicians who seem to enjoy bringing every element of their experience into their music in some form.

India Electric Company
EC1M is the first of three EPs they intend to release with the juxtaposition of the urban and the rural.
The exploration is a parts work but why they should do it in three discs rather than one album is unclear.
This aside the duo do have some serious talent and if their debut album didn’t convince you then this should.
Opener Farmiloe is inspired by somewhere they lived and scene of some of the recording process.
The track's style is very much in the vein of Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin but with the distinctive sound of O’Keefe’s accordion playing which sounds like he is playing the notes in reverse. Whatever he does it makes it stand out against the polished tones of Stacey who sounds, on this occasion, like rising star Dan Whitehouse from the West Midlands.
Their music is intricate, colourful and full of nuances which can catch you unawares.
Stacey’s voice has a mournful character with an undertone of anger which is more noticeable on Parachutes.
O’Keefe’s sawing fiddle playing gives a brooding feel and builds your expectations.
Camelot comes in full of atmosphere and cleverly uses the instruments and electronics almost as a third voice. As you listen you feel you are being taken on a journey without being sure why or where you are going.
There is a broken cadence of the free jazz variety behind the King of Rome. It has this stop-start feel to it and it’s almost as if Stacey is having to fit his lyrics into whatever music he hears coming along. The song never lets you settle into it which, strangely enough, makes you listen even more intently.
Castles In Spain is the final track where Stacey’s singing takes on a harder edge over the layers of sound which keep coming at you like flicking through the eclectic pages of a scrapbook.
IEC create intricate songs which have wide appeal and where they can either be listened to as simply good music or they can be picked apart to get a deeper sense of their talent, either way the enjoyment level is there for the taking.

EC1M is released on May 5 on the Shoelay record label and will be distributed by Proper Music.



Christy Scott


Glasgow singer/songwriter Christy Scott is a busy woman, not only has she taken the time to put together her debut EP Amaranthine, but she is also studying music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in her home city.

Christy Scott
Her vocal style as she opens with Hearts Collide has a drawn out quality and although she has a definite folk accent she seems to hover occasionally on a style closer to classical.
Scott's tones are wonderfully clear and now and again she sounds remarkably like the incredible KatieMelua.
Potion has something of a gallop in its cadence. Scott’s voice seems muted and in contrast with the previous track the clarity of her voice is lost in the speed at which she sings.
The sprawling intro to Another Song About Another sounds like it’s going to a be a country sound but it settles into more of a ballad.
Scott’s voice is somewhat lost among the strong instruments and at times she seems to be outreaching her vocal range making it sound slightly strained. There is a retro feel to Scott’s singing on Flaws To Uncover where her voice lies somewhere between Joni Mitchell and Mary Hopkin.
She seems to have found her level on this track but once again it sounds more like she is in competition with the instrumental backing rather than it complementing her vocals.
With the final track, Hope Street, there is a tremble and vulnerability in her voice.
The clarity is back; her vocals float over the top of the instruments and you get a better feel for the depth of her voice.
As a debut EP it’s something Scott should be proud of and there’s a sense that her clear tones and her vocal style, when fully developed and comfortable, will be stunning.

Amaranthine is available now from Christy Scott Music.


Reed


Reed is a very relaxed folk trio who like to keep things traditional. Sasha Mason, Alan Lane and Tom Rouse exercise their talents on an impressive array of instruments.

The Trio Reed
Their first EP, Maja’s Tree, is a slightly ethereal and soothing offering of four tracks which starts with Ted’s Song.
Unfortunately what you think is the intro is the entire tune with the flute playing of Mason being too long, too repetitive and simply feels unpolished.
Also talking over the tune in a poetry style reading, however sincere, is something of an unwelcome cliché and rarely works.
With the shaky start gone, Inshea has a much more sound footing. The renaissance feel of the tune is very welcome and extremely relaxing.
The harmonies are certainly more professional sounding and you get a sense you are hearing the core of what they do best.
The light skipping sound of Breton is extremely pleasant and the central insert of Donkey Riding is straight out of the book of memory evoking folk tunes. It dances beautifully from Mason’s flute which has a touch as light as a butterfly’s feet.
The final track Shadow has a brooding sound with Lane’s guitar keeping a heartbeat rhythm while Mason’s vocals have a retro feel to them and they are given a deep undertone by Rouse’s strings.
For a first EP, Reed is a laudable effort with a few wrinkles to ironing out but this aside they produce a memorable sound which is very pleasant on the ear, and with the skills they have displayed they may even consider a niche sound such as Ian Pittaway has done.