Joe Booley is an acoustic act hailing from Bordon, a small town in East Hampshire. After being a part of a number of Punk/Rock bands around his area, Joe has decided to step out of the comfort that comes from being in a band and go solo. It’s a weird step for someone who has been part of punk bands, as acoustic music is much tamer; however Joe demonstrates his versatility of his styles in his debut EP ‘Snapshot’.
The EP has this calming feel throughout out, which stems from the warm and powerful vocals that Joe provides, which is combined with simple strumming patterns within the songs.
‘With You’ is a perfect tone to set the EP, as it starts with just singing alone without anything to back up his voice. It’s a brave move to sing completely bare at the start of the EP, but Joe pulls it off with his admirable vocals and thought provoking lyrics. ‘Snapshot’ very much follows suit, as it takes the same tempo from the first song, and keeps you interested.
At this point of the EP, you’re perhaps looking for something slightly different to change the pace, Joe recognises this and lays ‘Can’t you See’ on us. The song is a soft melody with thought out lyrics around love and loss. The echoing of the vocals is a nice touch, and fits the song perfectly. ‘Betterman’ is perhaps the one that could be considered the most pop-like, as it has a subtle beat behind it, unfortunately this doesn’t live up to what Joe has done previously on the EP, but it’s still diverse thing to do. ‘Fight and Struggle’ is a nice ending to the EP, as the piano supports Joe’s vocals superbly, and although it’s a dark topic surrounding the song, it’s a fitting way to end the EP.
The EP is a perfect example of how acoustic songs can still be interesting and appreciative, in this day and age when you can get a million different sounds from a number of pedals, sometimes it can’t beat a strum of an acoustic guitar.
I think acoustic singer/songwriters are overlooked in the world of unsigned and independent music, mainly because it’s swarming with bands, which is not a bad thing; just it’s harder to find a strong acoustic act. But when you do find an acoustic act that’s strong, it’s a treat.
This happened when I stumbled upon Karina Berry, an acoustic, singer/songwriter from Bristol. The first element that struck me was the amount of material she had, and all but one were her own songs, and each of them were at a good standard, in terms of structure and melody. All of the songs are blessed with this angelic voice, making the songs sound that bit sweeter as it enters your ears.
Unfortunately the songs aren’t completely polished with Mr.Sheen, as they sound like they’ve been recorded on a phone, but this shouldn’t take anything away from the songs, because getting a good recording of a song is rather expensive and could cost an arm and a leg.
After listening to them all a few times, I finally found my pick of the bunch, which is ‘Still Here’.
Bar the recording, it’s near perfect acoustic track, with a golden glowing chorus and each verse is as exquisite as the last, having a slight Kate Nash effect to them but a much more pure voice. More often than not, female acoustic singers get slumped in the same pigeon hole as Taylor Swift, which is an insult to any singer/songwriter. Karina Berry sets herself apart from those acoustic acts with her own print on each song, and with her churning a new song out every two weeks, it wouldn’t surprise me if her fan base continues to grow.
Well this is a first for WFM as this is Finnish singer/songwriter who currently lives in Austria, and I don’t think this will be ever emulated again. Acoustic songs are very hit and miss, because most people that play guitar can write a song on acoustic and whack it up on soundcloud, which is the reason why we have a lot of tosh on there. However, Robin Pahlman has very much hit the spot with ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’ demonstrating pop sensibilities within his extremely folky single. A catchy little Banjo part introduces you to the song, lifting the mood and setting the tone with this single intricate part.
The song has all the major components of a pop song, the most important of those, a fetchy chorus as Pahlman sings “With the tears of Miss Lonelyhearts, come soaking through’, you get the feeling it’s slightly personal and close to home for him. An acoustic artist always has to have a strong/distinctive voice because it makes up most the song, Robin has this, perhaps not the most distinctive, but definitely a solid voice to sit on that acoustic bed. Pahlman has received a number of good responses for this song, which is rightly deserved, as this well put together song could make the grumpiest of people submit to a sneaky smile.
After meeting at the Colchester Institute while studying music back in 2011, it was only a matter of time until in late 2012 that Summer Snowmen formed after Nathan & Jack decided it was time to fill out their sound. They roped Jake into the Band after his own hardcore metal band diminished, then they found Joe without a home and he was soon welcomed into the band. Taking influences from Ben Howard to The Rolling Stones, Summer Snowmen have a wide range of influences coming in, which can be heard in their music. With a multitude of influences they aim to fuse them together to create a sound of alternative, blues, post rock, acoustic, rock and indie. So who’s in the band?
Jack Bennell – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Jake Blackman – Electric Guitar
Joe Wimpress – Drums
Nathan Edgell – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
‘Broken Eyes’ is a beautifully dramatic guitar song which is supported by some impressive vocals. The build-up and the dramatization of it all stems from Jake Blackman’s guitar work by him effortlessly tapping the fret board, a very impressive skill don’t you know. You can tell he used to feature in a hardcore metal band from the way he plays and the skills he shows, but he has the melody of George Harrison, but a slightly darker version for this particular song.
The use of two acoustic guitars was surprising because it was something you don’t normally see in a four piece, but they made it look like it should be the basic template for a band with the sound they created, it’s something most bands would strive for. Jack’s vocals are unblemished throughout, with him hitting each note as clear as a bell, making the song even more so dramatic and mouth-watering. There’s also a dark eeriness hanging around the song, it’s the same dark eeriness that lingers around most Radiohead songs, you can see the Radiohead influence in this piece. The solo is smart to say the least, Jake’s metal influences burst at the seams in this solo but it remains relevant and vital to the song as it still maintains to walk in the indie/acoustic territory.
Unfortunately it’s a band miles away from me, so I’ll probably not get to see them this years, but my eyes are opened and I will be looking out for them.
Another one of the bands that I have discovered through twitter, and they’ve asked me to review one of their songs called ‘I love the walk’. They’re a five piece rock and roll band from Manchester, and they originally started so they could give there mate’s gingerbread kid a future. They formed in early 2012, so still quite new for a band really, and they’ve performed their first single which is ‘I love the walk’ on Manchester’s Imagine FM. They take influences from Cast, The Doors, James and The Cure.
For their first single, and as a band that is relatively new as they’ve only been together for about 7 months, I think this song is rather good. It’s got a beautiful acoustic guitar in this song, just rolls off and is actually quite soothing. As well as the acoustic guitar it’s got some piano parts in it which I’m normally not a very big fan of, but It really suits the song in this case.
I think it’s been produced brilliantly, it’s sounds very together and it sounds like they’ve put a nice effect on to the guitar and the vocals. The singing in this which is done by Taylor are sublime, in the vocals department it’s a top class performance, and it gets better at 2.23. The lyrics are beautiful, also there’s this really nice part in there where they’re singing ‘ahhhhhhahhhhahhahhhh’ , sometimes bands do this just to fill a gap and it doesn’t seem necessary, but here it fits in nicely.
Another great song, from another great band, hopefully they will bring out some more stuff soon because this really is a beautiful piece. The least we all could do is to listen to the song and follow em’ on twitter. FEED THE KID!