Album Review: Foy Vance – Melrose EP

By on Friday, 24th August 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

‘Melrose’ is the newest EP from Bangor born Foy Vance, the first in 3 years. But since the 2009 ‘Time Lays Low’ was restricted to a limited pressing of 1000 copies and is not available digitally, this is the first new music many of us have heard from Vance since his brilliant debut album ‘Hope’ in 2007.

On first listen, I thought how well the music would do behind a film. On further inspection, that is exactly what it is. This is the soundtrack music for the 2010 short film ‘The Shore’ by director Terry George. The film went on to win the 2012 Academy Award for Best Short Film (Live Action). Two of the songs have also been repeatedly featured in American television shows. The feel of the entire album is that of an idyllic reverie and you can almost see the Irish coastline as is washes over you. Indeed the opening of the record is the music that opens the film as it pans across the muddy shoreline of County Down.

Less funky than Vance’s previous offerings, the EP is full of delicate yearning, a softness that has been added to Vance’s style as he strove to tell the story within the film. Light and airy, ‘Melrose’ opens with the hushed tones of ‘Be the Song’. Its simpleness belies the emotion in it. When Vance’s vocals soar above the increasingly complex music, your heart goes with it. Both ‘Into the Fire’ and ‘Something in the Water’ build on that sound and draw you in, the latter is available as a free download from this previous MP3 of the Day post. The soundscape created is perfectly layered over the pastoral scenes of the film as well.

Sparse, yet full of sentiment, the songs swirl through you with just a hint of the bluesy background of the artist. My only criticism would be that I would have expected there to be more tension between the ‘water’ song and the ‘fire’ song, especially with them tracking one after the other. I find ‘Midnight Starlet’ to be the most deeply resonating track on the record. It’s weighty and atmospheric. I was struck by how closely the tone of it was to music I’ve heard from another soundtrack, ‘My Brothers’ penned by fellow Northern Irish musician Gary Lightbody. Irish directors are getting some great artists to soundtrack their films, allowing musicians to show different sides to their artistry.

8/10

The ‘Melrose’ EP by Foy Vance will be released on Monday (the 27th of August) on Communion Records. Vance will be playing an extensive UK tour in October and November.

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