Sean’s a musician from a little place called Bishops Castle in Shropshire. Sean’s soulful approach to his music screams out in his original compositions with his own band complimenting his work beautifully. With “The Story of How We Lose Control” being almost 3 years old in two weeks time, the debut solo album is beaming with light in all the right places.
“Chalk On A Wall” is full of charisma with comparisons to artists such as Maroon 5 jazzed up with Jamie Cullum’s chord progressions and wit. An absolutely killer track to debut the band’s album. The song’s rhythm from the instruments and even the lyrics makes you want to shake your hips and jive. The mix feels comfortable, in my own preference though, I’d make the guitar solo a tad more quieter as the warm tone it gives off is really quite overpowering. Saying that, it doesn’t ruin the song as it does gives it an even warmer accent.
At the end of the day, we always find ourselves saying at some point in our life that It is… “What It Is.” The composition is built around a melodic acoustic guitar riff using a similar resonance to Newton Faulkner and his music. I really find the structure and progressions of the song makes it that extra special. Memorable moments feature the build up into a heavy 00’s rock part before ending up back into the acoustic chilled vibe of the song… Seriously, where the hell did that come from?!
“No Need to Sleep” is probably one of the most colourful songs on the album because of it’s careless nature. I can see why people like this song a lot because it’s dived into the allure of Jason Mraz and Daniel Bedingfield. It’s the pop highlight of the album for sure. I must say though, a personal opinion again, but I actually prefer the acoustic version as it feels slightly more emotional towards the topic of there’s no need to sleep.
Beginning with an industrial like drum beat, before the hook line portrays “please don’t take me higher” “Don’t Take Me Higher” is my personal favourite. Instantly within the first 30 seconds, the song is interesting and an important track in Sean’s repertoire. Revolved around a minor key, the track is dark and full of moments that make you believe that this electronic inspired track is one of the best tracks on the whole album. The unnaturalness of the track is uneasy and slightly unsettling, but it’s the lyrics and voices that comfort us to really love this song.
“I Need A Shower” takes us back to Sean’s comfort zone of funky, acoustic soul. It has an essence of a gypsy jazz track but without the fast tempo and vocals. It’s a playful track that is quite cheesy, but it works. The rhythmical voice of Sean drives us along into a scat like section that reminds me of The Jungle Book’s “I want to be like you..” Yes, it is THAT playful. The walking bass line takes us through the song and before we know it, the 3 and a half-minute song comes to an end and we’re left wanting more and more.
Next is a sleazy blues composition and the slowest track on the album. “Three Heartbeats” shines dual vocals in the chorus singing two different parts makes the emotional song a lot more personal. The two vocals empathise with both parties that are in this love battle. You can never really go wrong with taking a solo in a blues track, as long as you stay in the key and phrase the notes right, it’ll go well, just like the solo in this. It’s simple but effective. Sitting halfway through the album, it’s nice to have this heated, mellow record to sit back and chill for a moment.
“Heroes Back to Humans” features the same emotional vibe that Three Heartbeats displayed. We hear different kind of vocals come from Sean with his rap like verses sounding similar to Ed Sheeran but with better music backed up behind him. The backing band behind Sean are Joshua Davies – drums, percussion, Alex Pickford – vocals & Geoff Grimes – keyboards. The production on the album is done by Will Richards. At the end of the day, most heroes are humans anyway, and the message of this song is amazing as it implies that no matter what you do, you’re still human and still have your own boundaries and your own interests.
“Interlude” shows Sean’s skills on the guitar and vocals even more than before. This song has just took the bar and put it way higher. The song is humorous and definitely has moments where I chuckled in the first verse. An interlude is defined as a short amount of space or a dramatic piece, and I like how this Interlude is nothing like an interlude. It’s definitely dramatic and makes you feel something, but it’s not short and it hasn’t got a lot of room… by that I mean, there’s lots of things going on at once. This makes the song so much more interesting because we definitely wasn’t expecting that.
Going back to Sean’s acoustic roots, “The Gambler” showcases his guitar skills, mores specifically, his hammer on ability. The whole song is planted within the folk genre as Sean tells a story simply about a gambler. With the harmonies, we find ourselves listening to a song that takes us into a nostalgic, flashback moment of the importance of folk in the 1960’s. With artists such as Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, who just simply sang and played guitar… which sounds simple, but what they did is make every part of the song say something for itself, and that is EXACTLY what Sean’s did with this track.
As much as “Never Better” & “Escape Routed” are great, it shows a lot of the elements that we’ve heard already on the album. It would have been nice to hear another arrangement like Don’t Take Me higher as that was completely unexpected, whereas Never Better we’ve heard before in the other songs, but played better. Escape Routed has a gorgeous guitar tone that makes the song shine. It’s always really hard to have songs at the end of the album that stand out and keep you glued through the album. They are still good songs but I feel like they lack the wit that the other songs portray.
“Christ and Science” is just what I wished for. We have that acoustic, industrial sound again. The track features a big arrangement filled with many instruments all at once. You couldn’t get bored with this track as every time you listen to it, there’s something else you haven’t heard in the mix before. The orchestral arrangement proves that Sean and his backing band are really talented and are influenced by so many things around them. They are true musicians who play mature, responsible music that I feel I won’t get tired of listening to any time soon.
Favourite Tracks: Chalk on A Wall, What It Is, Don’t Take Me Higher, I Need A Shower, Three Heartbeats, Interlude, The Gambler, Christ and Science.