When Steve Andrews, AKA the Bard of Ely, isn’t prising our eyes open to the disasters we create in our destructive-by-design lifestyles, playing Glastonbury or being lauded by the NME and Nicky Wire, he’s spilling soul across the airwaves through singles such as Climb Through a Rainbow.
With Pixies-Esque shimmering reverb and birdsong as the backdrop to his ardently animated acoustic guitar and unlimitedly happy vocals that bring alive the song that was inspired and composed in his friend’s nursery in Cardiff, it is impossible not to get swept up in the euphoric energy of the single.
Climb Through a Rainbow definitively proves you’re never too old to benefit from the simple pleasures of authentically feel-good music, which makes no bones about being on the silly side of wild. Honestly, I’ve got happy tears as I write this review. Nothing has touched my soul this much, ironically, since Nicky Wire’s solo album.
Stream and purchase Climb Through a Rainbow on Bandcamp now.
On March 21st, Steve Andrews, AKA the Bard of Ely, showed us a brand-new facet to his consistently conscious talent with the release of ‘Mother Nature Rap’. The rap track drifts away from his usual psych-folk style but keeps the heart of it behind the canter of the rapped vocals, blistering synths and heavy rattle of the 808s.
I can safely say that I haven’t been this arrested in a socially dissecting hip hop track since Scroobius Pip launched his Logic of Chance album. The vocals take on a brand-new style of conviction as Andrews takes a no holds barred approach to announcing the impending climate doom and pointing out that we are already living it.
There is no shortage of cutting lyricism, but my personal preference has to fall upon, Mother nature ain’t here for your dream, You’re in hers, so let it be, and The Mother’s lungs have been cut out, It’s happened but it’s obscene. The imagery is as haunting as it is captivating in its unflinching John Cooper Clarke style.
Mother Nature Rap was recorded in Portugal at Verdelho Studio with Ricardo Verdelho as the producer. It also features synth overdubs by Crum (ex-Hawkwind, ex-Moonloonies). It is now available to stream and purchase via Bandcamp.
How could we possibly forget Steve Andrews after first hearing his insightfully sharp single, Where Does All the Plastic Go, in 2019? Many artists claim that their music is for the good of humanity, then conflate that with ego-centred lyricism. The famous Bard of Ely stays true to his unrelenting MO. Case in point, his latest single, Time for Ocean Aid, which invites you to consider the intangible mess we’ve made.
Sure, songs that paint a picture of where our toxic traits have led us aren’t an all-out dopamine riot. Especially when we’re already contending with an endless series of tragedy, sleaze and disaster. But in such a stunning way, Andrews used Time for Ocean Aid to pull listeners out of any sense of self-centred malaise and gave them something real to fight for. The psychy feat of intricate and artful folk-rock is an all too efficacious reminder that the world isn’t happening to you. It’s happening, and you happen to be here with the same responsibility as everyone else to leave it in a habitable state for every species.
Honestly, we couldn’t rate Steve Andrews more. He easily transcends heartfelt and litters your mind with a conscience. Which is, of course, the only acceptable form of littering.
Time for Ocean Aid is now available to stream on Spotify.