INTRODUCING. Cameron Avery with debut album review – Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams

Release date: 10 March 2017
Genre: Experimental blues/folk
Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Words by: Scott Murray

With such an emphasis on production in the modern era, vocals have seemingly fallen to the back burner. This is not the case for Perth’s Cameron Avery. His debut album ‘Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams is a truly beautiful offering thanks to Avery’s transcendent vocals, with the entire album highlighting vocal qualities reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. This, paired with Avery’s poignant lyrics of longing and loss, create a dramatic vocal landscape.

That is not to say that Avery’s production suffers as a result, to the contrary Avery has created a striking instrumental landscape filled with sounds not of the modern age. His use of strings, horns and even an organ is shockingly refreshing in an industry filled with synths, and generic drum beats.

This old school sound shines in the albums fifth track, ‘Big Town Girl’, a soulful ode to Jane, the girl running circles in Avery’s brain. Avery drives this home in the song’s forth verse.

“You know I’ve never had the time to wait around for a dame, but if I knew that we could make it I’d wait around for Jane”.

The track begins with a swell of an organ before being joined by thoughtful guitar and minimalistic percussion. Avery’s voice then cuts through the instrumentals in what feels like an instant, but lasts in your ear for far longer.

A standout of this track is the pain in Avery’s voice, constantly oozing his longing and eventually his loss. These two themes can be heard throughout the record, no more so than when Avery croons “Could I suit her better, than that dark blue sweater? Probably not.”

There isn’t a tune on the record that manages to escape Avery’s titanic wave of despair, every track dips its toe into the deep pool of Avery’s pining. This coupled with Avery’s seeming opposition to contemporary sound has allowed Avery a unique opportunity to let his lyrics to take the fore.

However, there are tracks that seem entirely independent of this sound. The album’s third track ‘Dance With Me’ highlights this through its neo-western sound, similar to that of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds track ‘Red Right Hand’.

As well as this there are tracks that give glimpses of Avery’s psych rock pedigree. Avery, Tame Impala’s touring bassist and a former member of Pond, briefly lets his roots show in the album’s two busiest tracks ‘The Cry of Captain Hollywood’, an entirely instrumental track that is as rousing as it is peaceful, and ‘Watch Me Take It Away’.

Watch Me Take It Away begins with pulsing, almost sitar-esc guitar before the track takes flight with a swarm of rhythmic clapping and heavy short bursts of guitar and rapid fire percussion. This ensemble becomes a tapestry that allows Avery to highlight his range whilst also allowing his powerful lyrics to shine. The track follows Avery’s growth as he grasps that he need not waste his time on relationships without mutual respect, starting the third verse with the glass shattering realisation that his time is as important as anyone else’s. “I aint got time for your perversions, I spend my time transcribing versions of the truth”.

Overall the album is musically undefinable, and yet astoundingly beautiful. There is something ethereal about Cameron Avery’s voice that creates a sense of hope, despite the distinct sense of loss seen through almost all of his lyrics. This is a fantastic first effort from a talent that has been hidden behind a bass guitar for far too long.

 


Listen to the highly anticipated debut album from Cameron Avery here
Also make sure to check him out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

 

S.M.

 

LIVE REVIEW. Martha Hill live at The Cumberland Arms

Date: 18/02/17

Venue: The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle.

Genre: Alt folk/blues

Words and photography by: Victoria Ling


One girl. One cello. Ceitidh Mac instantly silences the room as she takes to the strings and held us there for her full set that included a cover of John Martyn’sOver The Hill’. Cietidh is an artist that engages with her audience to a point that they are hesitant to move in case of unwanted disruption or missing a second of the performance. What an attentive audience…well at least for the opening act.

Hailing all the way from the North West in Manchester and joining the tour in the North East of Newcastle is Pip Fluteman (with fellow musician James on guitar and fiddle) This duo followed on from Ceitidh and brought something entirely different to the stage. Pip has us laughing and in some parts of his set and goes as far as declaring James as single which is met with some of the audience getting straight onto Tinder. It’s quite refreshing really how effortless Pip’s stage presence it, his performance is on point but the real connection with the audience comes from his talks in between songs, he’s really not afraid to drop a few jokes in here and there. His explanations of songs such as Dandelion Days’ and ‘She Was The Circus’ has the audience laughing, but also struck with admiration as his set is delivered with passion and clear brilliance.

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It was finally time for the main act of the evening, with the room now at full capacity and many being turned away at the door.  Martha Hill is becoming quite a name and definitely has a following here in the North East, as soon as she stepped onto the stage and opened with ‘Reborn’, you could feel the electricity fill the room. As a photographer, it became increasingly hard as every inch of the floor was taken up by everyone who was lucky enough to get a ticket. The third number of the set, ‘Traveller,’ sees the return of Ceitidh and the addition of Shannon on the keys, both creeping quietly onto the stage whilst front woman, Martha plays on. Everyone is so consumed that it is like the appeared from nowhere as all eyes and ears are fixated on center stage. Martha herself goes from the guitar to the drums and in doing so becomes quite theatrical and majestic. The crowd does become more animated in their engagement with a few cheers here and there while also remaining attentive with a roar of appreciation for ‘Blue Moon’, her debut single released just before Christmas. It is ‘Boom’ however that brings in the audience participation of a few finger clicks that go with the song.

As Martha and her band exit the stage you could still feel an electric buzz from the audience. By the look on Martha’s face, it is like she simply cannot believe this reaction.  Martha takes a spot on the stage by herself and treats the audience with a final song, an old folk classic of the North called ‘Geordie’. This seems fitting considering Martha has become an adoptive Geordie and this night on the Newcastle leg of her tour – a great homage to both the artist and the audience.


Make sure to check out Martha Hill’s single ‘Blue Moon‘ on Soundcloud now.

You can also catch her live in Edinburgh on 16 March. Check out her Facebook and Website for updates.

 

Through the eyes of Lil Vik

 

 

LIVE REVIEW. Samuel Jack at the Slaughtered Lamb

Date: 10/02/17

Venue: Slaughtered Lamb, London

Genre: Soul

Words and Photography by: Victoria Ling
Samuel Jack returned to Slaughtered Lamb to celebrate the release of his single ‘Surrender’ on the back of his last visit here last October – come show time, there was a buzz in the air as this artist is slowly but surely making a name for himself with all of the radio airplay he has been getting.

Giorgia-May, a petite Neo-Soul Jazz artist with a big personality kicked off the night and got most of the crowd fixated on her set. In fact,  at one point, the eager listeners at the front had to silence the late-comers joining the night, as May is someone that, given the chance, will stop you in your tracks to take note, especially with her song ‘I Want You,’ that has a Corrine Bailey-Rae vibe to it. Besides this niche comparison, May definitely stands out on her own and in her short support slot impressed the audience leaving the room full of even more anticipation for tonight’s headliner.

cAs the room fills, and the first notes on the keyboard start, the audience are ready and as Samuel steps onto the stage, his band are already in full swing. ‘Making It Rain’ is a tremendous opener. As the title suggests, it is quite the stormy affair, and the audience were now pretty much huddled in for the rest of the night. A few new numbers make the set list, such as ‘Refugee’, which Samuel describes as a tale about current issues of the world. Hearing this live really does cut into the soul, you can really feel the message within these passionate vocals especially when he sings, “where are you now?”.

fIf you have been to a Samuel Jack gig before, you’ll know a certain cover song always seems to make the set list, and despite him wanted to steer away from them, the opening chords of Coolio’s ‘Gangster’s Paradise’ always sends the audience into hysteria. During this moment, the audience are singing word for word and at one point are even stealing the lead vocal spotlight. This passion and crowd engagement is what makes every Samuel Jack performance so memorable. If it is not for a sing-along, they engage with your mind, body and soul. This is also reflected in the moment when he finally performs what we’ve all been waiting for, ‘Surrender’. And, boy, is the crowd ready to SING. When the chorus kicks in, it’s like the choir has come to town as the audience are immediately on their feet and clapping into euphoria. When ending a set on such a high, there has to be an encore and of course, Samuel cannot resist as he sings two numbers including last year’s EP title track, ‘Let It All Out’ which only escalated the audience’s choir-esque flow, leaving us all with a sense of satisfaction for the night.

 


Give Samuel Jack some love on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

Check out his music here.

 

 

Through the eyes of Lil Vik