EP Review: JORDAN HERBERT – “Just Recently”

Jordan Herbert is a talented, soulful young singer/songwriter from Northampton, UK. In 2016, Jordan’s released his debut EP Roots to wide acclaim, reaching #6 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts. Throughout the rest of the year, Jordan and his five-piece band, which includes musicians Harley-Joe Arnold, Jason Smith, Sam Thorne and Tony Young, toured extensively throughout the UK to promote the EP and build a fan base. In February, Jordan released a follow-up EP Just Recently through Spoilt Brat Records (what a great name for a label!) and it’s brilliant and beautiful.

Jordan Herbert

The four-track EP showcases Jordan’s abilities as both a superb wordsmith and vocalist, not to mention the great musicianship of his band. The title track “Just Recently” kicks things off in a big way with exuberant jazzy guitars, funky bass and a healthy dose of drums and crashing cymbals. Jordan vocals are captivating as he passionately croons the hopeful lyrics:

The way it’s looking now, I’ve been running around, chasing dreams I know that just can’t come true. And I’ve been running around and puttin’ it down, makin’ a sound, standing around with my head in the clouds, I was screaming it loud and I hope you can scream it too. Just recently I’ve, got it stuck in my mind, and I cant let go no no, it’s playing games in my mind.”

Next up is the sublime “How Could You” – to my ears is as close to perfection as a song can be. Floating above what sounds like an extended organ riff with snare drum are delicate guitars of varying texture and nuance, accompanied by Jordan’s intoxicating vocals that reach in and grab hold of your soul. This song is gorgeous. With pain in his voice, he sings:

How could you still end up getting it wrong, movin’ along without you. See lately, I’ve been thinking about you lately. Is there something that can save me? ‘Cause I’m done and I’ve quit foolin’ around.”

The pace quickens at around four minutes, with a flourish of guitars and vocals that are at once both sad and beautiful. The video for the song is fantastic. Shot in black and white and directed, produced and edited by Pete Cobbe, the video shows Jordan singing the song with his guitarist playing beside him in front of a black background. They’re the only things visible, conveying a poignant sense of aloneness.

Don’t You Worry” brings a return to the upbeat jazzy vibe of the first track, with an irresistible groove and funky guitar riffs. This song is just begging to be performed in a nightclub! Things take a more serious turn on the lovely folk-infused ballad “You,” a bittersweet song about trying to hold on to a relationship that’s falling apart. “When you feel like you’re not strong, just know that I’ll keep on holding on. When I’m fallin’ I keep calling I can’t get through.

Just Recently is a terrific EP, and I give it two big thumbs up! Every song is wonderful, and with only four songs, it leaves me wanting more. Guess I’ll have to wait for Jordan’s next release.

Connect with Jordan: Facebook /  Twitter  /  Instagram

Stream his music on Spotify  and purchase on iTunes or Amazon

EP Review: PUZZLE – “Babylon”

Brazilian born and London-based indie singer/songwriter PUZZLE is on a roll. Handsome and charismatic, he’s also an exceptionally talented artist. Following up on his three excellent singles “Godlike,” “Trial By Fire” and “Comedown,” PUZZLE recently dropped a new four-track EP Babylon, and it’s stunning. With his sublime melodies, infectious electronic beats, and sultry, captivating vocals, he creates luxurious soundscapes that pull you into mysterious and darkly beautiful spaces.

Drawing inspiration for his unique music style from an eclectic mix of artists such as the Pet Shop Boys (who I love), Lauryn Hill and Years & Years, PUZZLE also incorporates high-concept art and fantasy into his music videos and live performances. In an interview with Fault Magazine, he explained “I play a lot of video games … like Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid and I feel like that’s where I tapped into a different world. The same can be said for the fantasy books I read too. It’s all about escapism and opening worlds to people. The world is in constant flux … and I want people to take on those ideas when I make music. Nothing is set in stone and it’s all open to interpretation. It’s not reality, I’m trying to take people to a world of imagination.

PUZZLE

The opening track “Kamikazi” immediately sets a sultry tone for the EP. Beginning with a lovely piano solo, a mesmerizing drumbeat takes over, accompanied by seductive EDM-infused synths. With his sensuous vocals, PUZZLE sings of surrendering to someone who holds control over him, and for whom he feels burning passion: “Oh I refuse to run away, oh run away. Oh I want to feel the flames, let me feel the flames. Kamikazi, in a heartbeat you can take me down.” This is a sexy tune, as is the next track “Eyes Wide Shut.” Slower in tempo and darker in feel, but with even more sensuality, PUZZLE again sings of his passions: “Sweat pours, my heart rate soars as we kiss once more.

Since I wrote this review, PUZZLE released a video for “Kamikazi” that’s as mesmerizing as the song:

Little Black Book” is a catchy, emotionally-charged song about having strong feelings for someone, but fearing you may be nothing more than another number to them. Throbbing bass and swirling, otherworldly synths make this an incredibly compelling track. PUZZLE fervently sings: “I’m so caught up in this race. I’ll never be the first name. ‘Cause your list is too long, oh in your little black book.” The track has also been released as a single.

The creative and highly artistic video for the song is a positively breathtaking feast for the senses. In addition to the fantastic song, everything about it is gorgeous: the videography, computer-generated imagery, editing and – not least of all – PUZZLE himself. Take a look:

The final track “Realign” is so beautiful it raises goosebumps. Lush, sweeping synth chords, anchored by heavy bass, create a powerful instrumental over which PUZZLE’s enchanting vocals smolder and soar with great emotional intensity. This is my favorite track on the EP though, quite frankly, all of them are outstanding. I strongly recommend Babylon to fans of electronic music or, for that matter anyone who simply likes great music!

To learn more about PUZZLE, check out his website, and connect with him on  TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, and stream his music on Soundcloud and Spotify. Babylon and his other music can be purchased on  iTunes and other sites offering music for download.

 

Song Review: ANDY K LELAND – “The Kingdom”

Andy K Leland

Although he sounds like he’s from the northern reaches of the UK, indie singer/songwriter Andy K Leland is Italian. Born Andrea Marcellini, Andy plays a quirky but charming style of acoustic folk music. Formerly a founding member and bassist of alternative rock band My Cruel Goro, who split up a year ago, Andy is now a solo artist, and in February he released his first single “The Kingdom.” He plans to release his debut EP Happy Daze later this year.

“The Kingdom” is a delightfully pleasing tune, with gentle strumming acoustic guitar, accompanied by sounds from a toy keyboard organ. Andy’s off-kilter vocals that seem to skip letters or even whole words are infectiously beguiling, and perfectly suited to the catchy folk vibe. I must admit that when I first listened to the song, my initial reaction to his vocal style was ‘what the hell?’ but after a couple more listens I was hooked. Andy’s music is certainly unique and he sounds like no one else, which can be a very good thing in the massively overcrowded music scene.

I don’t often include the entire lyrics from a song, but these are so compelling and slightly humorous that I cannot resist. I may be off-base, but they seem to be from the perspective of someone who is dying or already dead, and now describing their observations of the afterlife:

Well the world has capsized
Turned my guts inside out
(They) got unplugged but FB
Keeps alive their ID’s
Save the day for sleeping
And the night for choking
In a bed of concrete
Next to walls that haunt me

Well outside it’s dawning la-la-la-la
I won’t see the morning la-la-la-la
I’ll be dead or dazzled by our own black nature

Got up one day in the kingdom
Surrounded by some strange folks
They held in hand their relics
And really dug my antics
So we danced together
Took some rest however
They were all plugged and wet so
They got electrocuted

Well outside it’s dawning la-la-la-la
I won’t see the morning la-la-la-la
I’ll be dead or dazzled by our own black nature

Yeah we are all guilty la-la-la-la
That makes me feel so filthy la-la-la-la
I won’t see the morning la-la-la-la
I’ll be dead or dazzled

Connect with Andy on Twitter and Facebook, and stream his music on Soundcloud

Album Review: RANDOM… – “Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness”

I recently discovered a composer/producer of Electronica music who goes by the artistic name Random… (Random dot dot dot) when he reached out to me to consider his upcoming album Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness. Hailing from Rotherham, England, Random… creates multi-textured synthesized music that ranges from dark and politically topical to catchy EDM. With contributions from two poets – Gav Roberts and Wayne Dyson, along with guitarist Mr Jiggs – Random… recorded the ambitious 11-track album.

In his own words, ‘Random… is reclusive, innovative and slightly insane. Those lucky enough to have met him will testify that his view of the world is warped, dark, but always entertaining.‘ He calls his particular style IDM – Intelligent Dance Music.

random-face

Most of the songs on the album have a mysterious, otherworldly vibe achieved through the use of complex melodies, discordant multi-layered synths, repetitive beats and spoken poetic vocals. The albums opens with the deeply compelling track “Put All Weapons Down.” The song is a call for peace and letting go of hate that keeps us in a permanent state of war – whether it be with others or within ourselves. It opens with dark, cacophonous sounds, then to wobbly, textured synths, Gav Roberts admonishes us to ‘put all weapons down.’ The lyrics are a litany of weapons we use to hurt others. Here are a sampling:

If your weapon is contained within the ink within your pen, set it down and rethink your motivation for writing.

If they be guns, take your finger from the trigger, empty the bullets onto the ground where you stand, put it down and step away.

Unstrap the bombs from your heart, go back and question the peaceful god who commands you to do this. Put all weapons down.

If you use god as your weapon, whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu or any other, do not speak to them anymore, or if you speak do not place your hate on them, then pretend that it was theirs.

Perhaps the most biting lyric is “Put them down, not even because you will hurt people with them, but because it is hurting you to hold them.”

Next up is “Rovrumoncee,” an infectious EDM track with echoed vocals by Wayne Dyson, while “Osmosis” has a sci-fi feel, along with Roberts’ electronically enhanced vocals. The spacey vibe continues with “Headspace,” in which ominous, scratchy synths, set to thumping bass, are overlain with Dyson’s chanting vocals.

Some tracks are strictly instrumental, such as “Kotto,” with its catchy uptempo beat, warm synths and crashing cymbals. (The video for the song uses animation based on The Pink Panther.) Other instrumental tracks include “Then We Came to the End,” with crunchy synths set to a hypnotic assertive beat that impels hip movement; the psychedelic EDM-tinged “Pete’s Gone to Leeds;” and “Elemeno Pea” with its marching band drumbeat and mysterious, pulsating synth chords.

One of my favorites is the melodic “Peristalsis,” with lovely guitar work by Mr Jiggs and spoken vocals by Roberts: “My friends think they’re the answers, but they forgot the question long ago. / Peristalsis is the motion I am feeling most of all. Almost too frequently to notice that it is there at all.

The Girl & the Water” is a six-minute long track featuring swirling, atmospheric synths that really do convey a sense of a pool of water. Strange animal-like sounds, accompanied by Roberts’ electronically-enhanced vocals, add to the song’s otherworldly ambiance.

The album is planned for release through independent electronic music record label Pink Dolphin Music in April 2017.

Track listing:

1. Put all weapons down (featuring Gav Roberts)
2. Rovrumoncee (featuring Wayne Dyson)
3. Osmosis (featuring Gav Roberts)
4. Headspace (featuring Wayne Dyson)
5. Kotto
6. Peristalsis (featuring Gav Roberts & Mr Jiggs)
7. Then we came to the end
8. The Girl & the Water (featuring Gav Roberts)
9. Pete’s Gone to Leeds
10. Elemeno Pea
11. Hidden tune

Follow Random… on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randomdotdotdot/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Randomdotdotdot
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5sgO4CliLXRKA3XL_2mk9A
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/random-dot-dot-dot

The album may be pre-ordered at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pinkdolphinmusic/new-leftfield-idm-cassette-and-cd-by-random

Album Review: THEY CALLED HIM ZONE – “Crow Swan Wolf”

It might seem to my readers that I’m obsessed with UK artists, but there’s just so much really fine music coming out of the British Isles that I’m compelled to feature their music time and time again. Another UK act I recently stumbled upon is a duo that goes by the intriguing name They Called Him Zone. Their music is hard to classify because it draws from many stylistic elements, but a good label might be ‘Dark-wave Gothic Alternative Psychedelic Electro-pop.’

Barely a year old, They Called Him Zone formed in early 2016, and consists of  Mik Davis (lead vocals, programming) and Steve Maloney (guitar, programming, backing vocals). They are joined by John Bradford on keyboards and percussion for live performances (coincidentally, the band is from Bradford, England). As their bio states, ‘Their approach combines a love of post-punk abrasiveness and electronic experimentation with a pop sensibility, albeit one at the darker end of the spectrum.’ Hallmarks of their sound are mesmerizing synth chords, heavy bass, shredded guitars and Davis’s seductive, breathy vocals.

they-called-him-zone

They released their debut EP Miami in early 2016 to wide acclaim, receiving airplay both globally and on BBC Introducing. They’ve now produced a new six track mini-album titled Crow Swan Wolf that’s due for general release through Ambicon Music in February 2017, although they’ve made two of the songs available for purchase on Bandcamp, as well as released two videos on YouTube.

The first cut on the album, and also one that’s already available for purchase, is the spellbinding “Just Fall.” A hypnotic EDM beat is overlain with lush synths that alternate between soothing and raw, a warm guitar riff keeping pace. Davis’s seductive vocals lend a mysterious, almost menacing vibe to the song, although the lyrics seem to be about plunging into a romantic relationship: ‘There will be a place where we can settle down. Watch ourselves in the sun, reaching up to clouds. Waking up from dreams. Holding out for love.‘  The song’s gorgeous video features stunning computer-generated imagery.

The second released track, and a real standout, is “Devil Dying.” A delicate synth movement begins the song, then scratchy guitars are introduced, along with a heavy bass line. Halfway through, the music ramps up with a guitar riff that would make The Cure proud, and our ears are treated to more of Davis’s sultry vocals.

More dark synths and scratchy shredded guitars are featured on the ethereal “Oh Well Nevermind” and “Wish You Were Here.” The band channels Depeche Mode in “Only You,” with a catchy EDM beat and echoed synths and guitars that create a compelling, otherworldly vibe. The darkest track on the album is “Waste You.” To a languid, repetitive bass line, distorted synth chords and a mournful guitar riff, Davis menacingly sings “I’ll waste you, I’ll take you. Even in my dreams I like to hate you.” The song closes with a computer-altered voice-over of a portion of the moving speech Robert Kennedy gave in Indianapolis after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., that tragically foreshadowed his own assassination two months later.

This is a great, well-crafted album that explores man’s darker sensibilities with imaginative use of electronic synthesizers and artful instrumentation. Support They Called Him Zone by following them on  Twitter and Facebook. Stream their music on Soundcloud and purchase it on Bandcamp.

Song Review: RESTLESS NATIVES – “Endless Possibilities”

I recently discovered the UK duo Restless Natives, and instantly loved their beautiful new song “Endless Possibilities.” Referring to themselves as ‘Renegade Audio Guerillas – a shadowy musical splinter cell created to enhance your mind with musical and visual splendour,’ Restless Natives are Dave Hubbard and Sam Simmons. Hailing from Lincolnshire, they play a distinctive style of music that melds electronica with alternative folk rock. In addition to their joint efforts in forming Restless Natives, they’re both accomplished solo musicians who also collaborate on different projects with other musicians. Dave is one half of funky electronic house music producers Peach Trees, while Sam plays in his alt-rock/shoegaze band The Loving Memory and is also a member of folk/punk band The Finest Hour. These are two busy guys!

endless-possibilities

With their latest song “Endless Possibilities,” the guys paint a dreamy ambient soundscape with lush, intricate synths, accentuated by a mesmerizing guitar riff. A strong drumbeat introduces us to the song, then a steady bass line takes over, providing depth and weight but never overpowering. A highlight is the delicate, beguiling flute that seemingly floats throughout the track, lending a bit of an ethereal vibe. The guys’ enchanting harmonizing vocals complete the package, making for a lovely, intensely satisfying song. Have a listen:

Support Restless Natives by following them on  Twitter and  Facebook, and subscribe to their  YouTube channel.  Their music is currently only available for streaming on Soundcloud and YouTube, but they plan to distribute their music more widely in the near future. Be sure to check out their other music projects too.

EP Review: THE PUSS PUSS BAND

Today I shine my spotlight on a singer/songwriter duo that goes by the fun, quirky name The Puss Puss Band.  They are multi instrumentalists Asa Galeozzie and Lee Pugh, a mainly studio based band from South Wales. Both have worked with numerous artists and bands in the UK and the Welsh music industry over the last ten years as writers & session musicians. They perform every aspect of their music: songwriting, instrumentals, vocals, arranging, engineering, producing and mixing. Asa plays guitar, bass, percussion, piano and melodica, while Lee plays lead guitar, bass and piano. The guys also have a sense of humor; on their Soundcloud page, they state that Asa plays tap shoes and Lee the mouth trumpet.

They released their debut self-titled EP The Puss Puss Band in October, and it features four outstanding tunes in a style the guys refer to as ‘jazz rock pop chill sounds.’ Their easy-going instrumentals and smooth vocals make for an incredibly pleasing listening experience – sort of a Style Council meets England Dan & John Ford Coley with just a touch of Dan Fogelberg. All those artists made really terrific music, and I think The Puss Puss Band’s music is in the same league.

The first track is the rather sexy “Feline Fine.” Sublime guitars and snare drum create a mellow vibe, and Lee’s beguiling vocals almost purr: “You got me working double time, you got me clocking overtime, you got me feline fine. And I know I can’t show you the things that I see, but sometimes I wish I could. Because you got something that makes me feel glad at night. And you got everything because you know you’re right.”  This is my favorite track on the EP.

The lovely ballad “Thinking of You” continues the mellow groove, but with a bittersweet edge. Its heartfelt lyrics speak about missing someone very deeply, and hoping they’re feeling the same about you. “I just wish that you could see, all the love for you I feel. But I’m descending in all this gloom. My heart free-falling like a lead balloon. Without you.” The guitars are especially nice on this track.

Alone” is a catchy, upbeat track with great chiming guitar riffs and Lee and Asa’s smooth intertwining vocal harmonies. The guys really channel the Style Council on this song. The pace slows back down to a dreamy haze with the enchanting folk-infused ballad “Perfect World.” Guest musician Patrick McDermott lays down some lovely banjo riffs over the guys’ laid back guitars.

The guys also recorded a great cover of The Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry” a while back. Take a listen:

I love their smooth sound and am anxious to hear more music from these guys. Support The Puss Puss Band by following on Twitter and subscribing to their YouTube channel. Stream their music on Soundcloud, or purchase on Bandcamp.

Single Review: BEN WRIGHT – “Starry Nights”

Ben Wright is a singer/songwriter/guitarist from Manchester, UK (a city with a vibrant music scene, from which have come a few bands I’ve previously featured on this blog). In his bio, Ben states that he writes acoustic folk/pop music that’s influenced by blues, reggae and rock. He released a wonderful debut single “Starry Nights” in October, along with a beautifully-filmed video. He said he was inspired to write the song “whilst travelling and sleeping in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand.”

The poetic lyrics describe the simple beauty of a starry night in the rural countryside, unblemished by the artificiality or pretense of urban life. “Looking down from high above, they’re flickering til the day is born. No artificial beams can reach the sky. No piercing sounds will break the night. Starry nights relive your innocence. There’s no delusions and no hollow men.”

Musically, the song has a lovely melody, with a pleasing acoustic rhythm guitar riff overlying gentle percussion and bass.  Ben’s soothing vocals perfectly fit the music, conveying a tranquil sense that everything’s alright with the world – a feeling that’s sorely needed at the moment. The gorgeous video, which shows Ben walking and/or performing the song by a lake, nicely complements the track.

Support Ben by following him on Twitter and Facebook. Ben also teaches guitar lessons on his YouTube channel, which you can check out here.  Stream the song on Spotify, and purchase on iTunes or Amazon.

Album Review: A BLUE FLAME – “What We’ve Become is All That Now Remains”

British singer/songwriter Richard Stone – who goes by the artistic name A Blue Flame – doesn’t consider himself a musician, but rather a compulsive writer of songs who also happens to play the guitar. For him, the song lyric is supreme, not the music or sound. On his album, What We’ve Become is All That Now Remains, he tells compelling stories using straightforward lyrics about life, love, faith, loss and heartbreak. And though he’s not as concerned about the music or sound of his songs, I think they’re superb, representing an amazingly eclectic range of styles from doo-wop and old-school pop to easy listening ballads and hard-driving rock.  Plus, his smooth, clear vocals perfectly suit his thoughtful lyrics.

When I asked Stone about his artistic name, he explained that ‘A Blue Flame’ just came to him, but he also liked “the balance in the name between the heat of a flame and the sadness of feeling blue. Blue flames are the hottest of all flames and they are also linked with strange, other worldly experiences like will o’ the wisps. It’s a name of contradictions between the scientific and paranormal, just like my music is a mass of contradictory influences.”  He said his songwriting has been influenced by some of the great songwriters such as Bob Dylan and the Beatles, but essentially any great song from one of any number of artists.

Stone writes all his songs and plays guitar. He arranges them with help from Adam Ellis, who co-produces and also plays guitar.  Other session musicians add their skills to the mix as needed, including Damon Claridge on drums, Andy Robertson on bass and keyboards, and Tony Robinson (who’s also played with the Manic Street Preachers and The Beautiful South, among other bands) on keyboards and horns.

a-blue-flame

The passage of time and the challenge of keeping the faith – both in God and yourself – are recurring subjects in A Blue Flame’s songs. The album opens with the sublime track “When Time Slowed Down.”  The song features beautiful piano, gentle guitar and snare drum, along with a captivating trumpet solo. With a hint of sadness in his voice, Stone wistfully sings of the fleeting nature of time, and the need to stop and savor the precious moments: “When all is said and done, and we’re just words upon a page inside a book that never opens / How will we be found?  We lucked out, the year we found the days when time slowed down.

Time’s passage is again alluded to on the tracks “Our Memories Fade” and the anthemic “Everyday Yesterday,” where an upbeat melody belies a deeper meaning: “Everyday, yesterday gets further away. I was born for the ninth time, a fool amongst the fools. Running in the nighttime and breaking all the rules. Till I saw I was the dullest stone in a box of golden jewels. It was clear that I knew nothing and my promises were cruel.

Stone plaintively urges self-belief and acceptance in the bittersweet ballad “Be Kind to Yourself” – “You know that your hate is a weakness, you know that you need to be brave. You’re scared of that something inside you that cries in the night to be safe” – and in the edgy, hard-rocking “I Don’t Know,” where Stone’s raw vocals seem to channel an exasperated Billy Joel. In “Feeling the Same,” he expresses empathy for someone feeling lost and alone with their pain and self-doubt.

Faith in God is questioned in the rousing “From God on Down.” Stone defiantly proclaims “I have been here a billion years, and I am so tired. I may, I may not exist. You might believe, you may well laugh. We’re all in the dark, from God on down.”  So too with the catchy pop-rock track “Out There Somewhere.”  Love and loss are the theme of the wonderful but rather mournful doo-wop tune “The Sun Refused to Shine.” The guitar solo in the last third of the song is great.

One of my favorite tracks is “Marlborough Park Avenue,” a poignant tune that calls to mind the incredible storied lyrics and singing style of Harry Chapin. To a gorgeous arrangement with gentle percussion, violin and multi-textured guitars that swirl, twang and chime, Stone fervently sings of a lost loved one “Though you’re not here, you still hold me together. The blossom is swimming around me / I think I’m in heaven.  I wish you were walking beside me, but you’ve gone on ahead.

Another standout is the hard-hitting kiss-off “The Girl Inside of You.” As with some of the other songs on the album, the upbeat, high-energy music – complete with “sha la la la, ooh sha la la las” – contrasts sharply with the fiery lyrics. Stone practically spits the lines “Rain falls down from a cloudless sky / I look up and I wonder why / It seems strange to me / It’s a motherfucking mystery / Farewell from the boy in me, who so fell for the girl inside of you.

What We’ve Become is All That Now Remains is an album that keeps getting better with each listen, as the poetic beauty of the lyrics continues to sink in. Learn more about A Blue Flame by checking out his website. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and stream his music on Spotify and Soundcloud. His music is available for purchase on CD Baby.

Artist Spotlight – The Condriacs

It’s back to the UK for a spotlight on The Condriacs, a singer/songwriting duo from Essex who make some really fine folk-pop music. The Condriacs are close friends Peter Spicer and Tony Slaven, who began writing songs together a couple of years ago, but decided to take their music more seriously in late 2015, when they began recording tracks. Spicer, who’s been making music since he was 14, plays guitar, while Slaven vocalizes their beautiful, compelling lyrics. As the guys explained in an interview with Michelle Ward on Brentwood, Essex radio station Phoenix 98FM in April 2016, they love great lyrics, especially by some of their favorite songwriters Chris Stapleton, Billy Joel and James Taylor, from whom they draw inspiration in penning their own exceptional lyrics. As for their interesting name, their wives came up with that moniker.

The Condriacs have recorded a number of songs, and are working toward producing a full -length album as time and funds permit. Spicer told me it’s a painfully slow process, but so far, they have five songs that will be on their debut album, and they’re working on two more they hope to record in the coming month. Their well-crafted songs are soothing, yet maintain enough of an edgy quality to keep from sounding too pop.

“When You’re Gone” is a lovely but sad ballad that speaks to the heartache and loneliness resulting from a lost love. With strong vulnerability in his vocals, Slaven laments “All I want is just another moment, a minute when I can feel your love. I wanna spend a whole day with you, really. How can I love you baby when you’re gone?”  Spicer’s smooth guitar and the accompanying piano, violin and gentle drums beautifully complement Slaven’s heartfelt vocals, which at times remind me of fellow Brit Rod Stewart.

The gorgeous “Devil’s Mist” is a standout track and my personal favorite. The first few opening musical notes can make or break a song for me, and in “Devil’s Mist” they’re positively captivating. The song’s arrangement and rich instrumentation are perfect from start to finish. Lyrically, the song is about hurt and betrayal over a failed relationship, and such powerful words they are:

“Raging nights, rumbling skies, lighting strikes me, I’m paralyzed. War with words that really hurt. We’ve just dragged up the past and dirt. When that red mist covers me, have to set that devil free. The open road where the air is free, brings me back to you. Why do you leave me in the pouring rain? Always running, never take the blame? I assume you’re OK, ’cause I’ve lost my rage.”

“I’ll Take it All” is a beguiling, upbeat song about life, love and hope. The track was just released as a single in Asia in August.

Another standout is “Run Run Run.” This remix has bit more synth-heavy vibe than the other tracks.

Here’s a lovely acoustic performance of the tender ballad “Can’t You See.” It really showcases the guys’ warmth and authenticity, not to mention Slaven’s wonderful a capella vocals.

I look forward to hearing what these fellows come up with next. Show them support by following on Twitter, liking on Facebook and subscribing to their YouTube channel.  They do not yet have music available for purchase, but it can be streamed on Soundcloud.