EP Review

Stevieray Latham – Letters From Suburbia: EP Review

Dark, melodic, art-folk compositions from the young but ever-rising Stevieray Latham showcases his musical versatility on his newest engaging, diverse self-produced EP.

 Release date :  12th March 2021. 

Label:   At The Helm Records

Format:  CD / Digital

Stevieray has built himself a solid reputation for original songwriting in a variety of styles which is evident on his new EP, Letters from Suburbia. It’s the final part of a trilogy, backed by The Nomads Of Industrial Suburbia – Matt Street (Trumpet), Simon Murfet (Drums) and Laura Porter (Percussion, Backing Vocals).  Festival appearances and radio airplay, music media articles as well as headlining concerts in Europe have given this multi-instrumentalist deserved recognition with his multi-faceted music.

A gentle piano opens  Dionysius Blues and melodic poetical singing tells a story of identifying Janus-like face changes in the character of a loved one. It has a plodding rhythm but the compelling lyrics maintain your interest especially with the youth choir-like backing vocals. At over 8 minutes it’s somewhat of a saga but it never drags.

Gashouse has a more ‘garage’ music style with a catchy guitar riff. The singalong chorus line “Hey now back to the wall, blue face cos heaven is cold you got to break the shackles that drag you along” will surely have the audience participating live.

Folky acoustic finger-picking style guitar sets a romantic mood and alters the musical style again. A love letter sung with wailing endearment, a brass band accompaniment adds a  textured layer. Short but sweet, I could have listened to 8 minutes of this too, but less is more I suppose!

Another ballad Don’t Make Me Love You In Vain has an even more gentle style, more wistful keyboard-based backing but just as enchanting as the previous track. The concluding track, a sensitive lovelorn poem, Transient Circles is set amidst everyday observations and experiences, supported by a swirling churchy organ, electronic events, and a chiming bell ringing the finale. 

There is a gap and a need in the world of music for a new exploratory sound, a need for a new original direction. There is so much in all genres that is derivative. Yet under the huge umbrella of folk music, there are a plethora of groups probing new boundaries. Stevieray Latham and his colleagues are part of this movement going down a different path making a new artistic statement as did the likes of  Fairport, Renbourne et al, Levellers and Seth Lakeman and many more in their early day.

Here’s Gashouse:

Steveiray Latham online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

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