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Acoustic Pop

Belfast’s Fuar became the paragon of the loveable rogue in his folk debut, Leave the Light On

For his debut single, Leave the Light On, the Belfast-born-and-bred multi-instrumentalist Fuar put the faux Irish roots of Mumford & Sons to shame. If you want to get high on the fumes of authentic Irish folk, make Faur your dealer.

The infectiously upbeat acoustic folk anthem needed little more than his guitar chords, a solid backbeat and Faur’s naturally exhilarated charisma to drive the euphoria through the progressions of the hook-proliferated single which celebrates love and the ecstasy found in the sparks of connection.

With Faur’s affinity for punk giving Leave the Light On plenty of fiery rugged bite, he hasn’t just contributed to the rich tapestry of Irish folk music, he’s made his own matchless mark on the genre. With the promise of plenty more singles to come conflated with the commercial potential which courses through his debut, it is impossible not to anticipate Faur becoming one of the biggest breakthrough singer-songwriters in 2024. Watch this space.

Leave the Light On was officially released on March 16th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rokeby’s Cover of What is Love is an Arcane Sermon of Mourning, Desperation and Torment

For his debut single, the London-based up-and-coming artist, Rokeby, proved what difference a minor key can make when he melancholically reinvented the 1993 single, What is Love, which was a flood of euphoric momentum under Haddaway’s dance pop duress.

The acoustic rendering of the single completely recontextualised the lyricism; the minor key piano notes and the gospel-esque soulfully profound vocal harmonies allowed the cover to unravel as an arcane sermon of mourning, desperation and torment. The ethereal production which sees his vocal range defy gravity swims in sincerity, inviting you to get lost in the undercurrents of agony inflicted by the absence of affection or the presence of imperfect love.

By taking inspiration from Hozier, Tom Odell, Bon Iver, Freya Ridings and David Kushner for this track and the rest of his forthcoming EP, which was co-written and produced with Tom Fuller, Rokeby is set to become the UK’s biggest evocateur of 2024.

Rokeby’s debut single was officially released on February 21st; stream the single on Spotify, and keep the artist on your radar for the launch of his debut EP, which will follow in 2024.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

London’s Immy Odon gave us the live lounge-y version we never knew we needed of Nelly Furtado’s Say It Right

Stripped-back and soulfully reimagined, Immy Odon’s acoustic RnB pop version of Nelly Furtado’s ‘Say It Right‘ is a revelation; the previously keyboard-driven single, now infused with the warmth of acoustic guitar chords, is elevated to new heights of emotional profoundness. Odon’s rendition is more than a mere cover; it’s a visceral reinvention of every harmony, showcasing her outstanding vocal performance.

Odon achieves what seems impossible: her version of ‘Say It Right’ outshines even the idea of Furtado herself performing it in a BBC Live Lounge setting. The success of Odon’s most popular single to date, ‘Unfreezing’, with over 384,000 streams on Spotify, speaks volumes about her talent and the impact of her music. Her rendition of ‘Say It Right’ is a testament to her unique ability to transform a well-known track into something entirely her own, and something that deeply connects with the listener.

Immy Odon is clearly an artist on an upward trajectory. Her upcoming releases, including several dance tracks, are eagerly anticipated. If they contain even a fraction of the magic found in her version of ‘Say It Right’, they are sure to elevate her status even further in the music world.

Stream the acoustic rendition of Say It Right on Spotify, which was first transmitted on the airwaves on January 12th.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Tyler Street’s latest indie-folk confession, ‘Faith, Wisdom, You’, is spiritual poetry in melodic motion

Candid, confessional, and captivating in equal measure, the latest single, Faith, Wisdom, You, from the Dallas-born, Napa-based singer-songwriter Tyler Street is poetry in melodic motion.

After the raw yet euphonic timbre of the acoustic guitar strings, the up-and-coming luminary cuts straight to the crux of the lyrical essence of the single, which resonantly explores a melancholic exposition of an inability to control the tides of emotion. The gentle vocal performance provides a scintillating juxtaposition to the lyricism, which carries the admission of uncontrollable anger.

With hints of Frightened Rabbit and The National within the indie folk production fused with the soulful warmth of Jack Johnson and the emotional intimacy of Elliott Smith, Tyler Street cultivated his sonic style to complement his soulful aura, which echoes the self-awareness and mindfulness inspired by his spiritual awakening. Take notes of the Eckhart Tolle-esque introspection while losing yourself in the transcendence of the guitar notes as they’re artistically amplified by the presence of chamber strings.

Faith, Wisdom, You was officially released on December 21. Stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Outpost Drive sang a bitter-sweet folk lullaby with their debut single, Go Back to Sleep

If you can relate to the melancholy of your dreams being more serene than your waking reality, prepare to be bruised by the emotional weight that will bear down on you when you hit play on the bitter-sweet folky acoustic pop lullaby, Go Back to Sleep, by the harmonically synergetic duo, Outpost Drive.

Between the aching of yearning and the gratitude of revisiting memories, Go Back to Sleep immediately cuts to the core of emotional juxtapositions when you are brought to tears recollecting the person who always knew how to make you turn a smile but only exists in dream. The lyric, “I’m lonely as I am free”, alluding to how life is just a dichotomy of Pepsi and Coke suffering, is especially potent as it cuts through the euphonically timeless orchestration, which proves how arcane instrumental minimalism can be when it is executed with superlative melodic command.

Willow Robinson and Mary Bragg Robinson, hailing from the English countryside and the American South, respectively marry the styles of British folk with Americana to deliver a sound that is as inventive as it is authentically all-consuming. The debut is a testament to the ability of love to transcend borders after the couple endured a year-long hiatus due to immigration hurdles. We can’t wait to hear what the ultimate folk power couple have in store for their sophomore release.

Go Back to Sleep was officially released on November 10th; stream it on Spotify or purchase the track on Apple Music.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Blake Baker is captivating in his wistfully listless single, Mind the Gap

The up-and-coming genre-fluid singer-songwriter Blake Baker became the ultimate raconteur of relatable melancholy while simultaneously delivering sonic sanctuary with his latest acoustic single, Mind the Gap.

The profound and beautifully crafted introspective piece resonates with the soulful narrative strength of classic folk songwriting; Baker’s skill in blending this traditional foundation with an Americana blues essence results in a song that is both timeless and refreshingly original.

Lyrically, Mind the Gap paints a vivid, cinematic portrait of a protagonist who feels overlooked and invisible amidst the bustling society around him. This theme of alienation and longing for connection speaks directly to anyone who has struggled to find their place in the world. Baker’s ability to capture this sentiment in his eloquently compassionate lyricism is beyond compare as the track anchors around his rich, sonorous voice which can carry the low timbres as well as the highs he maintains resonant depth.

Mind the Gap is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Lou Reed meets Tom Waits in the tender warmth of Lance La Breche’s latest seminal piano score, One Last Dance

Killing The Pistanthrophobe by Lance LaBreche

With vocal lines as arresting as the plaintive harmonies drenching Tom Wait’s Closing Time LP with soulfully spirited melancholy, the standout single, One Last Dance, from Lance La Breche’s upcoming album, Killing the Pisanthrophobe, is a piano-led score you’ll want to surrender to time after time.

The Lou Reed-esque keys also play a heavy hand in allowing you to succumb to the impassioned gravity within the single orchestrated by the Raleigh, NC residing self-taught singer-songwriter, who photographs architecture in the daylight and renders resolving melodies by the shroud of night.

The bluesy sepia-tinged tones and the endlessly compelling yearning for perfect nights to last forever won’t fail to fill you with the same tender warmth which flows through the score which abandons inhibition for vulnerability, to superlatively stunning effect.

Stream and purchase One Last Dance on Bandcamp, and keep Lance La Breche on your radar for the release of his forthcoming LP, which is set to drop on December 15.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jeff Jepson has released his haunting hymnal gem, The Good-Night Song

The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Jeff Jepson is set to garner a fresh wave of impassioned reverence with his Christmas-tinged EP, Sparkle. If this is your first acquaintance with the artist who rose to fame in Liverpool and has recently replanted his musical roots in the Isle of Man, the standout single, The Good-Night Song, is the perfect introduction to the master of poignant melody.

Whether it was the finiteness in the lyricism or the way the acoustic guitar’s euphonic rings intensified the affecting sting within the captivating vocal delivery in the arrangement which visualises the sparseness of winter branches, I couldn’t help but shed a tear as Jepson’s evocatively honeyed timbres quivered in the frost of the hymnal gem which will haunt you long past the outro.

The Sparkle EP illuminated the airwaves on November 10th; kindle your affinity with the 4-track release via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ava Valianti reigned indie folk pop supreme in her debut single, Bubble Wrap

At 14 years old, the Massachusetts-hailing indie folk-pop breakthrough artist Ava Valianti is delivering definitive proof that maturity doesn’t come with age; it comes with emotional intelligence, and her emotional IQ is lyrical leagues above the rest.

Her debut single, Bubble Wrap, distinguished her as one of the most promising new arrivals of 2023. The sharpened poetic volition is a magnetic juxtaposition against her harmonically rich and airy vocal timbre which effervesces against the acoustic guitar notes.

The power in her metaphors is one thing; her ability to entice you into a relatable vignette which comes to life with the vindication delivered to anyone who knows how it feels to be made small by people with petulant and puerile minds puts her on an entirely other level. We’re stoked to hear what she and her producer, Chris Plante, will create for her sophomore release.

Bubble Wrap is due for official release on October 20. Check it out on all major streaming platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Peter Beatty unveiled a wanderlust dreamscape with his acoustic indie folk single, Tell Me Where To Go

After picking up the best song award from the Cannes World Film Festival in 2023 and picking up more awards for his music and accompanying music videos from The London Independent Film Awards and The Independent Shorts Awards, the critically acclaimed and endlessly accoladed UK singer-songwriter Peter Beatty has unanchored his nautically meta single, Tell Me Where To Go.

With layered vocal harmonies as magnetically compelling as Jack Johnson’s and Richard Hawley’s atop honeyed and intricate acoustic instrumentation, listening to the organically resolving orchestration will set your imagination alight, awaken even the most dormant of wanderlust proclivities, and unequivocally convince you that in this generation of singer-songwriters, few can infuse their elysian soundscapes with a paralleled shot of alchemy.

I couldn’t think of a more stunning way of attesting to the fact that life is little more than a collection of explorations, whether that’s inwards, towards another, or into territories that will show us pieces of ourselves we never knew existed. Great songs stir emotions; superlative ones have what it takes to reconceptualise your take on existence in a few lyrical lines. Beatty is definitively in the latter camp. Someone exhume and tell Sartre I’ve just found the cure for existentialism.

Tell Me Where To Go hit the airwaves on September 29; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast