With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

‘Take Some Time’ EP – Tom McKenzie June 19, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 6:30 pm
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Yorkshire singer songwriter Tom McKenzie released a new EP, ‘Take Some Time’ last month. I recommend that you do take some time to listen to it. It has a modern indie folk feel to it and Tom marries that to an innate ability to build a pop hook in a ballad kind of way using just vocals, guitar and banjo. It is a great set of songs to just spend time chilling with, maybe in a deck chair with a cold beer or a glass of wine. Tom’s songs are more than just songs, they are stories that are sung. Given when these tunes were recorded I am sure that the COVID-19 lockdown has had at least a small influence on them.

The title track is a wonderfully melancholy love song with stunningly beautiful harmonies provided by Writer’s Rain. I imagined a story around the creation of this song where Sandy Denny might have recorded with Nick Drake. At times I heard a ghost of Clifford T Ward in Tom’s immaculate vocal delivery. “Forever Someday” has an upbeat almost alt.country feel and is one of those songs that just leaves you with a warm happy feeling. “One Way Ticket” seems to be about a relationship that has ended, but where they remain friends, if only all relationships could end that way. I can see the chorus here being a great audience singalong live. There is an invisible anger in “Reason” which appears to be aimed at a composite devil who might represent all that is bad about some people in the world. “How do you reason with the devil? I’m staring him straight in the eye” is a simple yet very powerful line. I think my favourite track on the EP is the closer, “Conkers And Leaves” which is about how great it is to come home, regardless of where and how far you have travelled. If you have not checked out Tom McKenzie‘s music yet I suggest that you do it now. Click here to listen to the EP on Spotify.

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‘Saccharin EP’ – Writer’s Rain July 5, 2019

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 2:36 pm
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I first heard Nina Sundstrom when she was on backing vocal duties for Rosalind and Wounded Bear at the Crescent in York back in April. I had a brief chat with this lovely lady that night and she told me that she had an EP coming out. Well, it has been out a while and I finally got around to reviewing it and I can state categorically that it was worth the wait. Nina goes by the wonderfully clever name Writer’s Rain and the EP is called “Saccharin”. She first came to York three years ago from Bristol to study for a degree in neuroscience, so clearly, her talents stretch beyond just her innate, natural musical ability. She has worked hard playing small open mic gigs in York and all that effort has paid off with such a strong first release. If you like singer-songwriters of the classic school, like Carole King and Joni Mitchell or more modern artists like Lisa Hannigan, Lucy Rose or Feist, then you really ought to give the ‘Saccharin EP’ a spin. It took one listen to convert me into a fan of Writer’s Rain.

The songs feel simple in their construction and performance with some relatively understated instrumentation. The production is crisp and brings out the best in Nina’s voice which at times has the angelic clarity of Karen Carpenter. Her lyrics are far more mature than her age might suggest. The EP kicks off with “Interested” which I think is a put down of an overpowering, pushy, braggart of a man. The title track, “Saccharin” is, no pun intended, one of the sweetest songs here. I can also sense the young Joni Mitchell influence here in her tone and phrasing. Have you ever fell for someone because you simply both ‘clicked’? The third song on this collection “Click” is all about that and it is a beautiful tune and my wife loves it! The EP closes with “Nervous” which has a soft folky feel and is a song that wouldn’t be out of place in a Laura Marling collection and is reminiscent of Mary Hopkin at times. Click here to check out the ‘Saccharin EP’ on Spotify, if it doesn’t leave you feeling good then you need to get your head checked out!




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