Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝘾𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙮 - 𝙅𝙤𝙚 𝙌𝙪𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙮
Charles wishes to make one thing clear…
As the world seemingly loses its collective mind, I continue the progressively difficult task of keeping a grip on mine. Just like it is a New Year of some sort most days of the year, it would seem like it is April 1st most days too. I base this mainly on my daily perusal of The Times. I think by now, most of you know I am a Times reader. The main two reasons used to be because the news was vaguely unbiased, and each article was relatively well written and “newsworthy”. I say “used to be” for a reason. Things have changed. The world has changed. People have changed. The only options are, to go with it and accept what is apparently reality, or to absorb said information, chuckle a little, and move on. Actually, there is a third option. To duck under the covers (being sure not to leave one’s wits on the outside), to tightly close one’s eyes, and keep hold of one’s sanity. Deny, deny, deny. Or maybe a little of all three…? Retain a sense of balance. As said by a young Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1951 classic - based on the 1843 classic - (please excuse the unseasonal reference): “I think the world is becoming a very hard and cruel place, Mr. Marley. One must steel oneself to survive it. Not to be crushed under with the weak and the infirm”. Now, although I don’t wholly agree with this statement, I very much do feel its resonance in the modern day. A more contemporary approach would be to HELP the weak and infirm…
But speaking of Dickens - as I so often am (at least in my head) - The Times informed me yesterday that a certain London university is to issue a content warning for Oliver Twist, because it might cause “anxiety” or “distress” among literature students. Let’s just take this in for a second, here. A novel published in 1838 predominantly about children living in poverty, is to be given a warning, for fear that it might upset people. Are we not supposed to FEEL anymore? Is emotion now considered a bad thing? Am I also to ignore everything on the internet and in films and series on Netflix, that causes much more genuine pain and discomfort? Is it completely fine for me to watch ubiquitous raw, close-up violence, and yet brace myself for reading about a child treated like vermin, in need of food? And another thing… This is fiction. A feeling of sadness from reading something sad, is not equivalent to one’s mental health being unstable or impaired. More than anything, it is the sign of a great writer, able to evoke certain emotions by taking charge of one’s feelings. It can’t all be peaches and cream. Should we ban dissonance in music? Maybe even abolish the minor key altogether…? And so, on this occasion I buried myself deep under the covers, took a deep breath, realised I couldn’t breathe, quickly flung away the feathery down, attempted a successful breath, muttered a few profanities, and moved on. Regaining my sense of clarity. It is the only way to not be crushed under with the weak. Are you man enough - probably can’t say that these days (but I will, nevertheless) - to brave the prose of one of the greatest writers ever to have graced this earth, without needing an attentive nurse to hold your hand? I know I am. Otherwise I will find myself in a straitjacket when something TRULY distressing comes along to darken my outlook on life. A little sense can equal much clarity.
And so we move past the blether, and onto the reason you’re all here. Quincy Jones. No, no. My mistake. Joe Quincy, with a track from his Cake and Wine album: Clarity. This Pennsylvanian has created something quite unique, and anything but clear! Is it a waltz? Sort of, but in some ways it could be considered as 6/8 (with a count of 6, rather than 3). It is all about where one feels the accents. I personally feel it as a bar of 6/8 followed by a bar of 3/4. For the people in the cheaper seats, just think of Bernstein/Sondheim’s West Side Story: “I like to be in A-me-ri-ca”, while the rest of you can sit in smugness of your higher intellect (I guarantee those in the cheaper seats are having a better time). There is an awkwardness and discomfort in Joe’s singing style (and yet it was issued no warning!) that keeps the attention in the most unusual way. I suppose this is where indie rock meets prog. The drums are full and rich - clear, even. For me, the bass is what really propels the song. It is solid and grounded, but never afraid to leap outside the box. Maybe less grounded, and more anchored. The song is forever fascinating! Aside from the unusual timing of the song as a whole, Joe regularly jumps around in time and rhythm. This doesn’t lose structure or feel, as the instruments are tied together with interlocking piston hinges - not literally, for that would be silly. There is something of Incubus and No Doubt in his sound, but also of musicals…! The excited, crisply rhythmical lyricism throughout is a key factor in the magic of this piece. The song is densely packed with subtle sonic treats in each and every instrument. Around the halfway point, we are truly taken into a sound not too dissimilar from The Darkness. The layered guitars and voices take on a new level of complexity, that can only be accomplished by a professional. Before the closing 30 seconds, we are unexpectedly thrown head-first into a thunderous full-on metal-ridden wall of sound, with the weight and force of a steam train. It’s one thrill of a ride! Joe Quincy sells himself short in his complete yet brief YouTube biography: “I make music and do silly things”. Although it’s refreshing to see he doesn’t take himself too seriously, Joe evidently knows what he’s doing. A humble man of many talents.
Having been given this sensational piece of music, we should count ourselves lucky and be very grateful indeed. And “given”, is exactly what this is. Along with all the stunning music on the New Artist Spotlight (not to mention the rest of the 90 million songs on Spotify and other streaming services), we are given it all! We don’t have to individually pay for a single one of them. Poor artists. Lucky public! But this time around, Joe Quincy has given us not one, not two, but 13 brand new tracks on his latest album, Cake and Wine. Despite this pudding and this beverage being just about the worst concoction ever conceived, the album itself does not disappoint. In fact, it is the most astoundingly versatile collection of multifaceted gems you ever could imagine. I urge you strongly to give this artist the time and attention he deserves. I cannot imagine how many hours, days, weeks and months went into making Cake and Wine. Probably quite a few. You will not be doing this out of respect, but simply for your own enjoyment. I give you permission to be a bit selfish, in pressing play for your own pleasure. Permit him take you places you never knew existed. Even through different eras!
I hope I have made at least one thing clear.
Listen to 𝘾𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙮 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
Listen to 𝘾𝙡𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙮 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Apple Music playlist HERE!
Listen to 𝘾𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙒𝙞𝙣𝙚 on Spotify HERE!
Listen to 𝘾𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙒𝙞𝙣𝙚 on Apple Music HERE!
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