Sounds for the soul
Having a rough day? Here’s a batch of new music that may make that long-haul down the highway a little more invigorating. Greg Bush writes
A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING The War On Drugs Warner/Atlantic www.warnermusic.com.au
A Deeper Understanding is the fourth album from Philadelphia’s The War On Drugs. Despite the name, there’s little aggression here; rather their style is to write and record multi-instrumental ambient-style rock. Up front, singer Adam Granduciel sounds almost like a young Don Henley. Layers of swirling instrumentation give the band a sound unlike any of its contemporaries. A
Deeper Understanding opens with the mid-paced ‘Up All Night’. There’s a relaxed country tone to ‘Thinking Of A Place’ with Max Hart adding pedal steel amid Granduciel’s electric guitar licks. ‘In Chains’, with hypnotic soundscapes, is more upbeat, while ‘Clean Living’ is a soothing pianobacked ballad. Previous release Lost In The Dream was impressive, but A
Deeper Understanding has ‘album of the year’ potential.
RISE & SHINE Simo Mascot/ Provogue www.mascotlabelgroup.com
The US city of Nashville is noted for country music, but three-piece band Simo, which originated from ‘music city’, is anything but country. Led by singer-guitarist and chief songwriter JD Simo, this trio leans towards funk, psychedelic music and hard driving rock. Rise & Shine is Simo’s second album for the Mascot label, and it starts off calmly enough with funky guitar licks and muffled vocals on ‘Return’ before reaching a faster, more even tempo on ‘Shine’. There’s a multi-faceted instrumental, ‘The Climb’, with JD Simo unleashing both funk and fuzzed-out guitar gymnastics, then leading into ‘Light The Candle’, a flashback to the psychedelic sound of the 1970s. In contrast, ‘I Want Love’ is a slow bluesy, R&B style number, while the final track ‘I Pray’ is an offbeat and adventurous journey.
DRESSED FOR THE OCCASION Luke Elliot Jullian Records www.lukeelliot.com
Hailing from the US state of New Jersey, Luke Elliot has the voice and the storytelling talent that has led to comparisons with artists such as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Dressed
For The Occasion is Elliot’s second full-length album, and he sings with much emotion, especially with the slow piano accompaniment on ‘Let It Rain On Me’. He performs a powerful remake of ‘Get ’Em While They’re Not’, originally released on his 2010 EP Death Of A Widow. On ‘Trouble’, he laments poor choices in his past, his raspy but soulful vocals giving the song a tone of desperation amid its twangy guitar backing. Elliot does an admirable cover of Tim Harden’s ‘Reason To Believe’, a hit for Rod Stewart in 1971, and he ups the impact on ‘This Gun Of Mine’, one of the best on this raw and honest album.