A round-up of EPs and singles that have come our way
‘Gladdie’ is the new single from AMY GODDARD and a taster for her forthcoming second album. It is inspired by letters sent to her great-grandmother during the Great War by a young soldier, one of four brothers none of whom came home from the trenches. The song features Amy’s bell-like acoustic guitar and a chorus drenched with strings, some courtesy of Naomi Hitchings. The melody is a waltz with a slight period feel but avoids being a pastiche and her lyrics convey the matter-of-factness of some of the correspondence as well as Gladdie’s anticipation as she waits for the next letter to arrive – until the last one is in a different handwriting. The song is a semi-finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest and more than worth its place.
The title track of May Day 1916, the new EP from THE CELIA BRYCE BAND, also involves letters, this time from a wife to her husband serving at the front and full of the minutiae of everyday life – something for a man away from home to cling on to. The second track is an instrumental, ‘Corporal Morris’, a lament with a decidedly Scottish feel – there’s more than a little ‘Farewell To Tarwathie’ in there. Both tracks have a suitably military feel with brass from 3 G. Dean Owens’ ‘Shine Like The Road’ is an anthemic ballad and ‘Small Print’ is a bluesy boogie that changes the mood completely. All proceeds from ‘May Day 1916’ will go to the Royal British Legion.
BOREAS is the bringer of winter, an appropriate name for a band that links Scotland and Norway. In advance of their debut album, Ahoy Hoy, the quartet releases a single ‘North Sea Holes’ – a suitably chilly subject – originally written by Ewan MacColl for Singing The Fishing. I’m not sure if Lori Watson or Rachel Newton takes the lead vocal line but Rachel’s harp is the dominant instrument over a fiddle drone from Britt Pernille Frøholm and Irene Tillung’s accordion ebbing and flowing like the sea itself until both elbow their way to the front for an instrumental break. The second track is ‘Bjornen/Facing The Bear (Radio Edit)’, a pair of tunes which begin with some wonderfully doomy bass notes.
Trouble is the third EP from Hampshire singer-songwriter JOE BOOLEY. The title track benefits from a glossy production job and lots of atmospheric echo but Joe throttles back for the other tracks. ‘What Did You Expect’ is beautifully expressed teenage melancholia with a single repeated guitar note emphasising the sometimes sinister lyrics. In ‘The One Thing’ Joe talks about how he “will leave this God-forsaken place”. I know his home town and he’s not wrong. Joe is a clever song-writer and if you like your misery unadulterated this is for you.
OCTOBER GOLD follow their second album, Bridge Of The Sun, with an eponymous EP. The Montreal duo of Kit Soden (acoustic guitar and voice) and Aliza Thibodeau (violin, piano and voice) have simplified things somewhat, adding only bass, cello, French horn and percussion but their sound is still big thanks to Aliza’s multi-layered violin. Although they write their own material their lyrics are derived from the nineteenth century poetry of Archibald Lampman and Thomas Moore, both of whom can be seen in stained glass in Ottowa’s public library. The songs are literary and complex and often melodically surprising – the last lines of ‘Altitude’ for example build from nowhere into an attention-grabbing climax..