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.
Charles holds back…
I should probably keep this brief. I probably won’t, but I probably should. The world is a loud place these days. In the words of Harry Nilsson, “Everybody’s Talkin'”. All the time. People have learnt to speak their mind. All the bloody time. Sometimes this is wise, sometimes very much not. And rarely ever are they asked to be so forthcoming with their thoughts, views and ponderings. But sometimes we do genuinely ask people to open up. In the words of Coldplay, “Let’s talk”. In the words of C. Duncan, “Talk Talk Talk”. They might, they might not. All depends, really. On whether they trust you, and whether they actually want to talk. But as I said, modern people are wired a different way. Wired to speak their mind. To open up and say what’s really on their mind. As if we are all dying to know. Typically though, the talkative types tend to have the least to say, while the quieter ones are usually far more interesting. Which I suppose must make me dull as dishwater. I think I am probably known for saying rather a lot. For opening up and being truthful. But while I don’t ever lie, it might not have occurred to you that I don’t (and won’t) speak about EVERYthing. Some things are best kept to oneself. I would give you an example, but of course that would rather oppose my point.
Therapy tells you to speak (so I’m told). It is the opposite of the English stiff upper lip. Traditionally, ‘opening up’ doesn’t come naturally to the English. But tradition is a thing of the past. How’s that for a line. So how then am I - a relatively old fashioned Englishman - able to be (generally) open about things. To speak my mind? I have no idea. Must be my Italian side, I suppose. Maybe perhaps because I don’t really give two hoots what people think about me? This is probably the main reason people keep themselves to themselves: “What would others think?”… Be bold, be proud, be yourself. But perhaps also be respectful. Not everyone wants to know. Not everyone gives a damn. In fact, very few will. Only the ones closest to you will genuinely care about your wellbeing. Sad, but ultimately true. With the exception of New Artist Spotlight member, Joao Aranha - who cares deeply about every single soul on the planet. Some might say he was a saint in a past life. I would personally say he is a saint in his current life. But I am not here to talk about Joao. You see? I just keep on talking. Comes naturally to me. Is it nerves? Not really. Just making conversation? Can’t really make conversation with oneself… Just passing the time? Perhaps. There are times when I should just learn to shtay shtum. Reticence is a dying art. This could be good. Or not. It was a comment from last week’s review that made me realise how much I talk: “That sixth paragraph. Holy crap!!”… Now, while I was very much flattered by this praise (assuming holy crap to be a good thing), I realised something… Can you find another song reviewer whose reviews contain a SIXTH PARAGRAPH?!! Hence me wanting to keep things shorter for this week. Perhaps another reason I am less inclined to speak is because I am a little hungover. Could also be that…
And so, I bring you a man who is both big and bald. His name is Ben. Please welcome bigbaldben (yes, all lowercase) and his son, smallhairylogan - ach - and his son, Logan. Sorry Logan, I couldn’t resist. Logan and I have some things in common. We both started our musical journey on drums, aged 9. We both soon after started playing the guitar. And then not too long after that, we both took up the bass. We both started writing at an early age. However, at the tender age of 15, I doubt I was as good as Logan is. Ben, on the other hand has told me little about his own musical prowess. Call it reticence, if you wish, but I would call it modesty. He was however willing to tell me a little about the two of them. I was simply bowled over by the idea of playing music with one’s own son. I have no son, you see, and I very rarely play music with anyone at all. It’s a very solitary, private thing to me, this music making lark. But the feeling of playing and writing with your own son, just got me so excited. It must be thrilling. So satisfying. Exhilarating! In Ben’s own words, “His [Logan’s] interest got me back into making music after many years away” - this is even BETTER! Another quote from Ben is “My son is all about music theory and lots of other words I don’t understand”, showing that Logan has seemingly already eclipsed Ben’s knowledge and ability in music - and Ben couldn’t be happier! With the release of a new album (Resurrection) comes the song, Reticent - and it’s fab. Oh, and just to quickly get something out of the way, Wayward Kicks is simply the name given to the duo.
When I first heard the song, I knew it was by the two of them. I assumed that the guitars and bass were Ben, for the simple reason that the guitars and bass were so well played that surely they would have to have been recorded by someone with decades of experience. Wrong. They were played by Logan. And the vocals, I felt SURE that they were Logan, for the simple reason that they just sounded so YOUNG! Wrong. They were sung by Ben. Surely then the drums were played by the drummer? Nope. Ben again. Which just goes to show: never gamble. Ultimately you will be wrong. Reticent was jointly written by the Pennsylvanian father/son combo. Shall we do a deep dive? Actually, would you mind if we just dipped in the shallow end this time? I’m not feeling very talkative right now. Thank you - kind of you to understand.
These initial guitar lines of Logan’s are truly something to sink you into the song. The way he flicks from note to note like clockwork, while syncopated harmonics underpin and complete the part as a whole. Then comes the ever youthful father on vocals, double-tracked for that airy yet overcast atmosphere. But that quintessential classic bigbaldben sound starts soon after the bass rolls in, at around the 37th second. His close harmonies in tight thirds, often opting for the minor third atop a major chord. It’s his thang. Shouldn’t work. Does. Ben LOVES to sing in thirds but also in fourths, giving it a darker, more veiled and sinister slant. In fact, for me it is his harmonies that really give his music its own originality. While Ben’s voice does remind me of Kevin Parker (of Tame Impala fame) and Logan’s guitar work reminds me somewhat of Incubus, the whole song has a new sound to it. A new groove. Papa’s got a brand new bag. However, you will only really start nodding your head when the drums kick in. And kick they do! Into the chorus? Well, not quite. Just before the chorus, there is what I can only really describe as a bar of 3/8. Up until this point it has been a simple 1-2-3-4 (4/4) beat. So where and how does 3/8 fit into all of this?? For those of you confused as to why this has turned into a maths class, 3/8 means one and a half beats. So where the norm would be 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and POW (into the chorus), it is 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 1 and 2 POW! I have often been told I should become a teacher. This is why I strongly disagree. My way of explaining 3/8 comes down to 1 and 2 POW. I may understand things, but I cannot for the life of me actually explain any of it. ANYWAY! This sudden time change certainly catches you off guard, but in such a great and innovative way! The first time I heard it, I was counting ONE and TWO AND three AND four AND i GOT so CONfused I put IT back A bit TO work IT out. But now, I just couldn’t imagine it without the quirk. It’s brilliant! Especially when it glides into a chorus so satisfying and so smooth. And then there’s the wicked bridge and the even wickeder (it’s a word if you say it is) guitar solo. You see? A shallow paddle, rather than a deep dive. Best to leave it to your ears to do the diving.
I will close by congratulating the duo on a fantastic song done superbly. I'd also like to wish Logan's brother, Max, a fabulous time as he starts college in Washington DC. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. And that goes for you too, Logan. And that goes for you too, Ben! It seems I failed to keep things brief. While this article might be ever so slightly shorter than usual, this still manages to be paragraph six. Holy crap!!
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