Singer-songwriter Rory Lavelle is set to release his album Waves on the second of June. The Belfast artist is inspired by sixties pop-rock, previously playing in bands like Indigo Fury and Sparks Fly. Known for his storytelling and soulful tone, he even opened for Ian Brown at Ulster Hall. This latest album, his solo debut, includes widely praised lead single All These Horrors which has a catchy but eerily haunting chorus.
I found myself wanting the broken chords in the guitar to be louder in All These Horrors. The drums and vocals were too overpowering and made the harmonic structure of the song difficult to discern. I did like the chord structure as well as how the melody accentuated it. Sonny had great light and shade, especially in the lead up to each chorus. The little guitar hooks in between and over the top of the vocal melody really lifted the song to new heights.
Poor Pride sounded too similar to the previous song, but I did enjoy the sixties surf-rock style ‘ohs’ throughout the song. It may have sat with me better if the two tracks were separated by a song or two. I enjoyed the different, more spoken, vocal tone of When the Crazies Come Out. The phrases played by the violin over the lyric ‘this is when the crazies come out’ was pure genius, starting on a syncopated beat and contrasting with the repeated chords.
Somewhere Along the Line surprised me with tempo changes in every verse/chorus. It was certainly reminiscent of the San Fransiscan and British types of sixties rock/pop. We get a subtle taste of Lavelle’s falsetto in the next track, along with a sophisticated and instinctual guitar solo. The vibe of the album is brought down a few notches in Waiting for the Reverie. Including just Lavelle’s vocals, guitar and a piano chord every bar, the track is moody and intimate.
I thought A Thousand Kinds of Pain was an interesting track. There were some great chords, the instrumental arrangement was perfect and the build was effective. However, there was something about the melody that I didn’t like. I found myself enjoying the vocals more towards the end of the track, but I just couldn’t get myself into the beginning. These featured violins quite heavily, with a cool little sliding lilt to the stringed instruments. I loved the use of harmonica in this album, and the last track Sleepy used it well in the introduction. Plus, it was clever in its use of repetition and sustained note on the lyric of ‘sleepy’.
For an indie-pop/alt-rock album, this is a solid debut. There were a few things I thought could have been a bit different, but overall the mood and flow of the tracks worked well. I give it 7.5/10.