Thursday, 12 September 2013

#163: Lonesound - The Great Outdoors Part 3 (EP review)

For many the dissolution of a band can kind of be like a messy break-up, an end of an era. Personal friendships can fall apart and resentment can kick in. For others though, it can be the start of something new, something fresh, and if you choose to strike out on your own, as the lead singer of ill-fated indie band My Luminaries did, it can mean a whole new level of freedom and control never experienced within a band.

James Ewers aka Lonesound has, for the last 12 months, been releasing a series of EPs entitled The Great Outdoors, an obvious reference to his new found creative liberation. The collection of records, charting his journey as a solo artist over the period of a year were an interesting way of releasing the songs I’d begun after my band split up...and seeing where it might lead me." And lead him places it did, having received critical acclaim across radio and blogosphere alike for the first two parts, Lonesound has recently released The Great Outdoors (Part 3) a collection of four tracks pertaining to his engagement on New Years Day.

Opener 'A Place For Everyone' is an ode to loneliness and sees Ewers take on a variety of roles including keys and acoustic and electric guitars. It's a solid opener, though thankfully the most downbeat of the four tracks featured. Proceeding track '(You Don't Have To Be) Strong' is a much more optimistic affair. Jangly indie-pop guitars work in tandem with keys to form an infectious and hook filled track written about his future bride. Similarly, 'As We Along' is more of the same. Vocal harmonies are matched by keys and violin both, while the lyrics are perhaps some of the most picturesque seen in contemporary acoustic music. There's an unashamed camp quality to his music. And despite initial reservations, by the third or fourth listen to the EP, it becomes obvious that Ewers is not only a hugely accomplished musician. He's also a fantastic songwriter too.

Even though it's a solid track, 'A Place For Everyone' really is the song that stops this record from being almost perfect. It just doesn't stand up to the level of quality held up by the rest of the record. Whether that's because a song about loneliness just doesn't seem to convincing from a man recently engaged and obviously ecstatic at the prospect of marrying the woman he loves, or whether it's simply because it's just a weaker track in general, instrumentation aside, I don't know. What I do know, is that James Ewers going solo is probably the best thing he could have done and if the his forthcoming solo album stands up to the level of quality exhibited here, then it's certainly going to be a record worth taking notice of

This article was originally written for Ears On. Click here to see what else they've been up to.