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.
𝙃𝙤𝙤𝙠𝙨 𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙄𝙣 - 𝙁𝙖𝙙𝙚𝙙 𝙀𝙡𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩
Charles fishes for compliments…
Today, I’m going to be talking about sport. Which may come as a surprise from someone who neither plays nor enjoys it in the slightest, save the odd game of badminton on a balmy sunny summer's day. But since we don't get many of them in London, even those feeble serves are slim. I am not going to talk about something so common as football or tennis (Happy Centenary, Wimbledon), but rather something altogether less taxing. In fact, it involves little movement at all. Most would even struggle to bring themselves to call it a sport. And no, it's not golf. Golf would maybe seem positively exhausting compared to this. It could be considered a team sport, though it is quite often and maybe usually achieved solo. And when I say solo, I mean there is no human opponent. But this does not mean victory is easy. In fact, it can be pretty brutal, usually resulting in multiple deaths…! Strangely enough, the sport is very often accompanied by a dozen bottles of beer. I know, this is really starting to sound peculiar. What is this drunken violence?? It involves a great deal of sitting, and very often in the rain. Suddenly it sounds rather less crazed and rather more stupid. The player has a long slender stick (more violence?), but much of the time said stick rests alone and remains untouched by human hands. From the stick’s narrowest point, a string dangles downward (as only a thing can dangle). It is kept taut by a weight at the end. This is starting to sound less like a weapon and more like an ancient mathematical instrument for measuring earthquakes. But earthquakes are difficult to measure in the water. Oh yes, did I not mention? This thread dangles below the surface of the water. It still sounds rather scientific. But what with the beer and the Kangol hat, it all starts to look like a bit of a practical joke. Oh, did I not mention the sun hat? But of COURSE! What else are you meant to wear whilst sitting in the pouring rain?
You have probably guessed by now, that I am talking about fishing. Loosely termed a sport, it is ultimately a much needed getaway for many men around the world. I’m sure women as well, but I might have hoped they’d have the sense to do, well, anything else. Surely only a man is dumb enough to do such a thing… Any fishermen reading this will probably already hate me - I can’t say I really give a toss. Fishing has/had its place when hunting for food, in order to survive. But as a sport (or something to do), it just baffles me, and actually makes me smile out loud. Guffaw Guffaw! Let’s just take a moment to picture this. A man (or woman) sits on the edge of the water (or boat), as a flexible stem of lord-knows-what does much the same. Both make little movement. One sits and sips while the other is content with only the former. The man (or woman) seems delusional as the golden rays of sunshine make his (or her) naked knees sopping wet - for this is not sunshine, but in fact rain. Many fishermen ("fisherwomen" really doesn’t have the same ring to it) claim it isn’t actually about CATCHING the fish, or even about the fish at all! This is probably because these people are not particularly good at it. A nice excuse. But when they DO catch something, oh, you’ll never hear the end of it. I suppose one nice thing about it all is the satisfaction of eating something you caught yourself. Going back to our roots etc. But these days you can rarely even do that! The modern world says it’s cruel to the fish and equivalent to hunting - which I suppose it is. So nowadays, if one is lucky enough to catch a massive trout (for example), the catcher quickly has to take a bad photo, before throwing the thing back in the water. The fish, not the camera. Yes, it is MUCH less cruel to have a punctured cheek, be dragged out of the water so it can’t breathe, smile for the camera, and then be thrown back in again. How kind we are in this modern era. If I were this fish I’d be positively reeling! Pesky humans. Or perhaps Pesci…?
The only angling I do is fishing for new music. And honestly, in the New Artist Spotlight it’s like a wild salmon stream. But there was one particular fish that repeatedly kept getting caught on my line (despite my vain attempts at piscine sympathy). I could hold out no longer. My catch of the week is bleeding bloody delicious. The artist laid the bait, and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Please welcome Faded Element with their brand new single, Hooks You In. I saw you clapping… Faded Element is yet another fabulous Canadian artist, specifically from Ontario. And yes, Ontario is in Canada, not Italy. The band is not exactly prolific, releasing an average of one single per year - but with music this good, it is maybe sometimes worth taking the time to get it right. The 5-piece has two of its pieces at the fore, not meaning the other three are expendable in the slightest, but rather Drew and Nick are the Lennon and McCartney of the band. The Georges and Ringos are vital to the sum, but the full force comes from the duo. While Drew is the writer and lead singer, Nick (also writing) is not only the guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, but also the George Martin of the band. He mixes and masters their songs in his basement studio, which is frankly just so utterly cool. Let’s get to the music.
This is pop rock at its finest. Faded Element call themselves “90s rock nostalgic sound”. I personally think they’re selling themselves a little short here. The initial immediate influence I hear is Arctic Monkeys circa 2013, as the bold drums kick us up the first beat. The guitar and bass are united in a riff that is fuzzy yet clean; raw yet tamed; sexily urging you closer, teasing us as if to say “I won’t hurt, but I might bite” - the fisherman smiles. Drew’s vocals then take us over with confidence and cool. A bluesy voice that doesn’t hold back. As we rather swiftly move into the pre-chorus, the pop side of things starts to get into gear, making me think of Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and even Justin Timberlake in a rock setting…! The scene is then flooded with a tambourine-ridden pop chorus, a little reminiscent of Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty, as the OWgan backs up the guitars. The chorus is completed by the best use of double-tracked vocals I have heard in a while, with a refrain of “That’s what hooks you in”. The guitar solo later on is relatively simple, but the tone is brilliantly judged. In general I prefer simpler guitar solos that are well crafted and honed to fit the piece, rather than complicated widdling that might as well go on forever, or preferably never starts in the first place. So this solo suits me well. Each phrase is finished with a catchy whistled melody!
It is so satisfying when all the parts just come together, with no loose ends, and nothing to add. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another year for Faded Element’s next offering. But in the meantime, we have this. Much like fishing, it is all about enjoying the moment. With a cold beer, a silly hat, and wet knees.
I won’t be throwing THIS one back in.
Listen to 𝙃𝙤𝙤𝙠𝙨 𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙄𝙣 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
Listen to 𝙃𝙤𝙤𝙠𝙨 𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙄𝙣 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Apple Music playlist HERE!
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