Album Review: The Dunwells – Show Me Emotion EP

By on Monday, 8th September 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

After several years of making music together, Leeds quartet The Dunwells are making a concerted effort to develop and refine their sound. Their new EP ‘Show Me Emotion’ indicates a definite change of pace from the blues-inflected folk rock of their 2012 album ‘Blind Sighted Faith’. Written mostly during the hectic touring cycle for that album, the new EP finds the band moving away from their acoustic guitar foundation and leaning more on their trademark vocal harmonies, along with keyboards and percussion, to expand their sonic repertoire.

The band, comprised of brothers Joseph and David Dunwell along with cousins Robert Clayton and Jonny Lamb, sought out producer Steve Harris for production assistance on the EP after hearing his work on Kodaline’s ‘High Hopes’. The influence of that track is clearly evident in the four songs on the ‘Show Me Emotion’ EP, which are similarly overflowing with the kind of candid, straightforward emotionality that the Irish band have become known for.

Frontman Joe Dunwell’s emotive vocals on the opening lyric to title track ‘Show Me Emotion’ provide an immediately effective hook as he pleads, “Give me one more chance / I need to make it right.” While the song’s lyrics aren’t particularly inventive, the band make up for that with gritty, heartfelt expression, not only in the vocal lines, but also in the punctuation of the rhythm guitar and drums. The anthemic chorus builds to a layered coda section that seems tailor made for stadium-style sing-alongs.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/2JasfT_fn_E[/youtube]

The middle two tracks on the EP, ‘Communicate’ and ‘Sleepless Nights’, are likewise fraught with emotion. Outstanding track ‘Communicate’ is an urgent plea that finds Joe Dunwell reaching to the limits of his expressive vocal range, while ‘Sleepless Nights’ features the band’s ethereal vocal harmonies to create a hauntingly disconnected insomniac effect.

The EP closes on an optimistic note with the upbeat track ‘The Best Is Yet to Come.’ Like ‘Show Me Emotion’, its message might be slightly trite, but the Dunwells are utterly convincing in their delivery. Explaining the context of the song, Joe Dunwell says, “The Best Is Yet To Come’ was written when we got home from the U.S. tour. We were eager to start playing and recording new material and we knew we had loads more to give. The song is about having patience and keeping your head up, you never know what’s around the corner.”

The title ‘Show Me Emotion’ essentially sums up the Dunwells’ revitalized approach to making music, as Joe Dunwell notes in the EP’s press release. Their fresh and energetic new sound is indeed an exciting prospect for what is still to come.

8/10

The ‘Show Me Emotion’ EP is out today. The Dunwells begin their UK headline tour this Friday; you can find all the details here.

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