mike davies column may 2021

From now available athttps://brumbeat.blogspot.com


KATHERINE PRIDDY makes her album debut in June, from whence comes the first single, the dreamily swaying fingerpicked, caressingly sung pastoral folk of ‘Indigo’ (Navigator). With its slow, steady drum beat and swooning strings, it addresses our relationship with nature in a story about a young child and a tree that unfolds to speak of loss, of innocence, friends, lovers and, perhaps, the eco-system as we grow older.


SICKY has been busy doing the lockdown, next month seeing yet another new album, Bowling Balls, one that inclines to his more commercial melodic pop sensibilities. Opening with a sample from the Apollo 8 Christmas message, ‘Same Thing In Reverse’ is a catchy staccato acoustic strum complete with whistling, followed by the all join in infectious ‘we love ya’ chorus of the glam-tinged ‘Back In The Room’ and a prowling rhythm groove ‘The Last Hello’ with paranoid guitar licks that perhaps hint at some Prince influences.

The ebb and flow title track, at just under two minutes, nods to 60s psychedelia, the acoustic ‘Birthday Song’ is firmly of a country folk persuasion, sounding at times like a slowed down ‘Tom Dooley’, while ‘Safe On Earth?’ with its falsetto notes rolls out a budget orchestral feel.

The Bowie strum styled ‘I’d Die’ begins the countdown, followed by the 60 second growly spoken ‘Problem’, rounding out with, first the yearning mid-tempo strut, acoustic guitar chugging and percussion clank slowly gathering Greenwich Village folk-blues anthemic balladeering of ‘Water’ that proves a particular standout, and finally, keyboards swirling, ‘Three Lovers’ with its chirping backdrop vocals pulse, swelling to a cathartic finale and close. It’s essentially a simple affair in terms of arrangements, but I reckon it’s the best thing he’s done in years and, were it not for the nature of the industry and getting the exposure it deserves, would be the one to really put him on the map.


Growly, grunge-inflected post-punk Birmingham four-piece THE NOVUS have their debut EP, Thaleia Standing (named for the Greek muse of comedy) lined up for June, but precede that with new single ‘I Serve Not’, a slow steamrollering, strobe-rhythm number ode to the nation’s dilapidated high streets, struggling small businesses and the gradual erosion of working-class community. Written around the 2019 General Election and attacking those who exploit others for self-gain, the line ‘it’s simple common sense’ is taken from a Jacob Rees-Mogg interview about the Grenfell tragedy, the title comes from the chorus hook “I serve not he who feeds me, but he who's sure I am fed." Definitely ones to keep a close eye on.

roots-and-branches.com 2020