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๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ - this week: To Whom but You - Scruffy Saints

Welcome all to ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connollyย - 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 ๐™‰๐™š๐™ฌ ๐˜ผ๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ฉ๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ playlists.


๐™๐™ค ๐™’๐™๐™ค๐™ข ๐™—๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™”๐™ค๐™ช - ๐™Ž๐™˜๐™ง๐™ช๐™›๐™›๐™ฎ ๐™Ž๐™–๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™จ


Charles begins the resurrectionโ€ฆ


So that was Easter. For those who don't celebrate it, Easter is a time for celebrating Coco, the god of chocolate. I therefore can't imagine why anyone wouldn't celebrate such a thing. Unless you're allergic to chocolate, in which case it may be best to treat it as any other weekend. Okay, there is no god of chocolate. It's all about Jesus having risen from the dead - as ya do. Clever lad. I must say, I like the idea. But do I believe in it all? Well... It's a hard one to swallow. I mean, the whole idea seems a little far fetched, no? But if you want to believe, then by all means, believe! There's no harm in it. Whatever floats your boat. There is beauty in this idea. It is not morbid. Quite the opposite, if you think about it. And this is the side of religion of which I am most fond. The peaceful beauty of it all. The unworldly nature of it all. The magic. Just like when one watches children use their imagination. Does that still happen these days? Do they still use their imagination? Well, let's just say they do. It is delightful, endearing and somewhat captivating. So in this sense I think of religion as holding on to that child-like wonder. And why not??


So for me, was this just another weekend, or did I find myself in church multiple times? Well I think you already know that my trousers are free from pew polish. The last time I opened a book of hymns was at school. "Please turn to hymn number 565, where Christ hath wunth again told us that it is wrong to enjoyeth life, and that you shalt toil until doomsday" - ah, that cheery number. That's ultimately what put me off religion. The whole "we are not worthy" thing. And that we are only to smile if smilen to. And even then, it must be brief and symmetrical. You must feel no glee. Joy is a formality... Right, so it must have simply been just another weekend for me then, (albeit slightly longer than usual)...? Well, no, not exactly. You see, in much of England these days (as opposed to those days), religious celebrations are more about tradition and family than about godly things. Celebration should not be like a Mexican wave, in unison (making it more Soviet than Mexican). Friday for me was simply taken up with Release Day things for my new track. Saturday was relatively uneventful. But Easter Sunday was different. I mean, it was much the same as any other Easter Sunday, but different to an average Sunday, where I would normally simply work. I went to see my parents. It was just like old times. And as always, there was no mention of Jesus (except perhaps as an expletive when the dvd player wasnโ€™t fulfilling its duty). We had a lovely lunch and then watched Easter Parade. A truly underrated Fred Astaire film. You see, THIS is the kind of Easter I like. Tradition and family. And I think this might have been the very first Easter of my life where I did not touch any chocolate. Surrounded by the stuff, but there it lay, still pretty in expensive, colourful packaging, to be devoured at a later date. So there you go. I do and I donโ€™t celebrate Easter. I might consider myself a scruffy saint of sorts. In that, while I celebrate it, I celebrate it for all the โ€œwrongโ€ reasons. As to my Easter Monday? Well, youโ€™re reading it.


Over the past week or two though, my girlfriend has been away in the wholly holy land of Po. For she is Polish. While this has made my life temporarily exceedingly dull, (as I more and more frequently talk to myself in order to make the flat seem less empty), it has given me a lot of time to listen to music. Something (unsurprisingly) I adore doing, but quite rarely get the chance for these days. It has been quite a mish-mash of things. Loads of stuff from the New Artist Spotlight (of course), loads of new mainstream, and loads of old discoveries. When I say old discoveries, I mean music that is from decades ago, to which I had still yet to listen. Well I rectified that and gunned through the complete discographies of Joe Jackson and Peter Gabriel. I then swooped into the Octopus Music playlists. One standout track was Dom Piper's fabulous brand new single. Only Dom would release a song called Psycho Killer, on Easter Sunday! That dark horse. And then thereโ€™s the mainstream. I know you want me to say it paled in comparison to the great unsigned stuff going on right nowโ€ฆ Well it did and it didnโ€™t. Beyoncรฉ was impressive sound, but over the top and heavy-handed with the concept of the album. And far too long. Jacob Collier was half tingle-inducing genius, and half unlistenable pappy junk (that is frankly below him). Blu DeTigerโ€™s album was pretty good actually. But after having heard ALL of this, it was only Elbow that saved the day. Their new album simply gave me everything I wanted in a new album. Originality, melody and satisfaction. And one hell of a musical punch. Itโ€™s called Audio Vertigo, and this was possibly what I was starting to feel after having listened to perhaps just TOO much musicโ€ฆ


In listening to ALL of this, I was perhaps giving my fellow NAS artists an unfair disadvantage. How could they possibly compete with such high-end pickingsโ€ฆ? Well, I did my usual Monday-delve, and I had several maybes. I also had quite a few from the last 3 weeks. But there was one that hit me from the first listen. It has now been listened to MANY a-time. I have listened to the song far more times than I have listened to the Elbow album. And when I am not listening to it, I am humming it. Even while writing this, it has been whirling through my mind every minute. While Scruffy Saints might not ring a bell for many of you, at least by name, you will probably be familiar with Scruffy Saintsโ€™ alter ego, fรกbjรกni. Yes, itโ€™s a lowercase F. When the UKโ€™s fรกbjรกni wants to do something a little different, he goes under the name of Scruffy Saints. As he seems to want to retain anonymity, I will respect his wishes and therefore refer to him as J.S. (his initials), but you must promise me you wonโ€™t make any Bach jokes. Actually, initials might get a little annoying, so letโ€™s pretend he has the most generic English name of John Smith. Smith from now on.


I did review Scruffy Saints once before, and it was my fave new Christmas song of 2022. So there seems to be a theme hereโ€ฆ I like themes, as you might have realised by now. Jesus lives! But Smith only really sounds like Smith. I love it when artists simply sound like themselves, no matter what genre or sound they choose to go for in any particular song. This isnโ€™t easy. Many artists either stick with the same sound, ad nauseam, or they change sound so violently, that it no longer really sounds like them anymore. To change sound quite drastically, yet keep oneโ€™s own personality and soul intact, is a rarity. I think the way Smith is able to achieve this is his use of melody. Melody seemingly being his number one asset. And melody is the one thing that feels lacking these days in song. There is nothing generic in the way Smith makes music. He doesnโ€™t do โ€œwhat is doneโ€. The song was released on Good Friday (along with my new one), and we both listened to each otherโ€™s, like excited children swapping stickers at school. They probably swap different flavours of vape these days. Or knives. Anyway! It was a Happy Releaster for us. He liked my song, which made me smile. When I started listening to his, I was ready to say a few nice words to him. But I paused because I was taken by the song. I didnโ€™t really want to write anything. Not right then. I wanted the music to pour all over me, and so I let it. This was not out of respect for the artist. This wasnโ€™t even because I felt I should. Iโ€™m not that NICE! I was doing this for my own selfish reasons. I love great music. I love what it does to me. I donโ€™t listen to music in order to support the artist. Thatโ€™s a happy bonus! The ART should be the star, not the artist. I donโ€™t listen to U2 because Iโ€™m such a fan of Bonoโ€™s face. I canโ€™t stand Bonoโ€™s face. I listen because they make/made great music. And have I received a thank you letter from Bono for listening? I have NOT! So he must be as selfish as I. Fairโ€™s fair, I suppose. Back to Smith.


Once the song had finished playing, I was still not ready to write and tell him my thoughts. I needed to listen again. It was automatic for me to press play as soon as it was over. I donโ€™t normally do that. Possibly because I tend to get most of what there is to get on first listen (with the exception of the lyrics). But this left me with the knowledge that there was still more to suck from it (the vampire that I am with music). This is because To Whom but You is not an obvious song. But neither is it weird. There is no repeated 4-chord sequence. There is no โ€œand hereโ€™s the chorusโ€. There is subtlety throughout, and nothing does what you expect it to. Yet, again, it feels comfortable. Very. Among other things, I ended up saying this to Smith: โ€œOh, itโ€™s gorgeous! I canโ€™t even work out how it was written. I would guess all at once through a storming moment of brillianceโ€. I said this because I genuinely didnโ€™t hear the process of writing. It was as if the whole thing was given to Smith by someone or something in a higher realm. Maybe Jesusโ€™ reason for rising again? As if the song were to start life in its completed state. Like it had never been built, but had simply landed in one piece.


Smith must write chords and melodies simultaneously. I could not imagine this starting life as a chord sequence. The melody is too important and too prominent for this. And it feels like one could not exist without the other. This is TRUE songwriting, and usually only audible in the work of the great songwriters. One such notable I feel is much maligned and ignored or even cast aside these days. Blur. Damon Albarn might now be known to a whole generation as the ageing man behind Gorillaz, but to me he will always be one of the greatest melody writers of all time, while in Blur. Admittedly, his voice was never exactly on the level of Freddie Mercury or McCartney, but the writing was always there, and hence I have always put him in my โ€œGreatest Melody Writers of All Timeโ€ list. I really do hear an influence in To Whom but You, but still it is different. It is as if the melody has been written by Albarn, yet sung by Blurโ€™s guitarist, Graham Coxon, due to the understated, humble nature of the voice. Yet Smith sings far better than either of them. His voice is possibly a cross between C. Duncan and a choirboy. Earnest youth! His enunciation is crisp and deliberate. But the thing is, these unusual chords and melody lines flow so seamlessly from one to the next. It is invisible mending for something that needs not to be fixed.


You might be wondering what the song actually sounds likeโ€ฆ Well, we start in the world of early Goldfrapp, but then as the song continues it gets heavier and heavier, bringing shoe-gazer rock to the table. Itโ€™s like 90s grungy indie rock being performed by Tears For Fears at their most beautiful. But it is simply stupid for me to even attempt to describe something that isnโ€™t familiar enough to envision. It is however euphoric, and actually quite epic. As to the lyrics? Well, I mentioned hymns earlier. These words are taken from a hymn written in 1857 entitled โ€œThy works, Not mine, O Christโ€, by Horatius Bonar - a fabulously unfortunate name. To Whom but You, is therefore a modern day hymn! Itโ€™s not often you come across one of THEM these days! I have no hesitation in saying this is Smithโ€™s best work so far. But I also donโ€™t doubt that this is only the beginning for Scruffy Saints, fรกbjรกni and/or โ€œJohn Smithโ€ (still not his name). I am sure he has not reached his pinnacle. For his pinnacle is in the heavens. J.S. is my new god of melody.


He twisted my arm and put my Elbow out of joint. But donโ€™t worry, Iโ€™ll get hymn bach.


Listen to ๐™๐™ค ๐™’๐™๐™ค๐™ข ๐™—๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™”๐™ค๐™ช on the ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ Spotify playlist HERE!

Listen to ๐™๐™ค ๐™’๐™๐™ค๐™ข ๐™—๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™”๐™ค๐™ช on the ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ Apple Music playlist HERE!

Listen to ๐™๐™ค ๐™’๐™๐™ค๐™ข ๐™—๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™”๐™ค๐™ช on YouTube HERE!


Follow ๐™Ž๐™˜๐™ง๐™ช๐™›๐™›๐™ฎ ๐™Ž๐™–๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™จ on Instagram HERE!

Follow ๐™Ž๐™˜๐™ง๐™ช๐™›๐™›๐™ฎ ๐™Ž๐™–๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™จ on TwiX HERE!


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129ไปถใฎใ‚ณใƒกใƒณใƒˆ


Billy Lowry
Billy Lowry
4ๆœˆ08ๆ—ฅ

Alright he said NO BACH jokes..what was Bachโ€™s last word ? He played : D-E-A..D. Harharhar. What an absolutely stunning track! Altho Iโ€™m not religious, I def felt this song- the piano matching the vocals is truly something quite special. As special as one of my fave peeps CC- altho how did CC have the willpower to turndown Peeps (marshmallows) this Easter!? ๐Ÿฃ

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Charles Connolly
Charles Connolly
4ๆœˆ10ๆ—ฅ
่ฟ”ไฟกๅ…ˆ

Cheeky Billy. I have never heard of Peeps... (I've just looked them up)

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ZOLEON
ZOLEON
4ๆœˆ07ๆ—ฅ

That was amazing love the review keep it up ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘

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hgzlla
hgzlla
4ๆœˆ07ๆ—ฅ

Fabulously interesting!

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Patrik Ahlm
Patrik Ahlm
4ๆœˆ07ๆ—ฅ

Easter came and went. One son's birthday on Good Friday, another son moving house on Holy Saturday and a third son with a baby due date on Easter Sunday. Jam packed, but not very religious. Very family oriented though ๐Ÿ˜„


It's a stunning song. I'm glad I was able to listen 100% focused because the song really is worth complete attention. Very hymn like indeed. I think you know me by know ๐Ÿ˜‰, I loved the chord progression. And the gorgeous melodies. Maybe it shows I'm a bit old, but I swear I could hear some progressive influences like early Yes, and Genesis in there, and like you, a tad Tears For Fears. And... weirdly enough... I thought of 'Something'โ€ฆ


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Charles Connolly
Charles Connolly
4ๆœˆ10ๆ—ฅ
่ฟ”ไฟกๅ…ˆ

That's quite an Easter you had, Patrik! And yes, VERY family. You're right about the song. It is easy to let it drift by you, but if you concentrate a little, it starts to take you over as you realise all the subtle intricacies. I get what you mean about the prog influence. Probably why I loved it. Ooh, Something! Hadn't thought of that!

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Dom Piper ๐Ÿ˜† love the name of the song! But this is all about Scruffy Saints. Nice!

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