I love music. Who doesn't? But, chances are, you won't read too many album reviews from me.
It's very rare that I'll sit down, listen through an album, and have something to say about it. I tend to enjoy songs individually. I usually pick one song, listen to it until I can't stand it anymore, and then move on to the next one. And, of course, there are always a couple of songs on an album that I don't particularly care for, which makes writing about an entire album difficult.
Since I started getting involved in all these internet communities, I've moved from favouring big name bands with lots of music to individual musicians whose progress I can follow, and one of the things that small label bands and individual musicians do more often than big name bands is release EPs.**
Blue Gillespie is a hard blues/rock group fronted by Welsh actor Gareth David-Lloyd. Their first EP, Cave Country, was released in December 2008 with six songs. I thought it was pretty good, favouring one or two songs over the others. It's a good album for when you're feeling frustrated and angry, but it wasn't really anything spectacular and I only really bought it because of Gareth David-Lloyd.
Cave Country part 2 is a phenominal difference in sound, and I'm going to go through all four songs individually in order to try to express how impressed I was with this album.
This is the first song on Cave Country part 2 and you are immediately taken into a different world of sound that Blue Gillespie's previous album. While their previous music was rough and a bit grungy and Gareth's voice followed the standard screaming, The Swamp opens up the album with subdued bass strumming and accoustic guitar. Members of the band have always said in interviews that their music is inspired, in part, by Tool, but it was hard to see before. The guitar in this song is very much like Tool's melodies.
Then the lyrics of the song open in prose. I've fanboyed over Gareth's speaking voice before, as I own two audiobooks and four radio plays that he has done, but to hear it over soft guitar and bass is incredible. After the prose, he sings with a clear voice, very different from his screaming, and it really makes a difference in the quality of the music being produced.
I won't go one about Gareth's voice again, but this song is also an excellent showcase and, while there is a brief return of his screaming at the very end, it's appropriate for the shape of the song and is much less in your face than Blue Gillespie's first album.
Blue Gillespie has to have really matured as a song building entity in order to create Making sound and I am enamoured with the shape of this song. Good musicians almost always have great lyrics and melodies, but I find that great musicians know how to build sound. Making Sound starts out flatly, just the guitar and Gareth's voice, and as the song progresses, more layers are applied. Bass gets added, reverb is altered slightly to make all the intruments sound deeper, and it all flares out until the sound is as rich as it could be with the few instruments used.
This is also a personal favourite of mine because of what I've been calling the "dark Labyrinth" feel. One of the phrases for the base sounds like a darker version of some of the phrases in the Labyrinth soundtrack, which is one of Gareth's favourite "musicals".
Sex and Pride
If I had to choose a least favourite from this album, it would have to be this song. Not because it's a bad song. It's just as well build and well sung as the other songs in this album, but nothing about it particularly sticks out for me and I have had more trouble discerning the lyrics than the other songs.
Unfortunately, I think this song, moreso than the others, is a lyric song. While the whole is undoubtedly important, the message is less in the feel of the song and more in the words, which, as I stated before, I have trouble hearing. I'm sure that when someone's written out the correct lyrics for this song and posted them somewhere, I'll have more to say, but this is all I've got right now.
I found this choice particularly interesting to include on this album because a more produced version of this song was on Blue Gillespie's first album. It's really a fantastic juxtoposition of sounds that they've cultivated.
This version is much quieter and more subdued. Again, Gareth's voice is clearer and carries more of a blues quality than the previous "hard" music. I think the accoustic version is an improvement on the song and utilizing Gareth's vocals in this way helps the song go to where I think it had intended.
I mean, the opening lines are "One day I'll be old news/ alone and broken singing old blues." The softer, deeper tones of Gareth's voice really fits the tone set by those words better than the higher, rougher tones.
To listen to Blue Gillespie's second EP, Cave Country part 2, click HERE. If you like what you hear, you can also download or buy a physical CD from that same page.
To visit Blue Gillespie's Myspace, click HERE.
** EPs, for those who don't know, are albums that exist somewhere between a single and an LP (long-playing record album, AKA a regular album). They usually have 4-6 songs.