Album Review: Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

billie eilishBillie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Art Pop | Electropop


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Spotlight!: Jane Silver

jane silverThese days folk just seems synonymous with “acoustic”. Often all that links various folk acts is the use of a simplified, stripped-back arrangement. Not to say that’s a bad thing, we love modern folk, but at the same time it could be so much more. It could connect with its roots, in tales and tunes passed down through generations, or it could look forward and push the genre into more exploratory forms. Barcelona born singer-songwriter Jane Silver manages to do a bit of both on her debut EP Wooden Fortress.

The aptly titled ‘Medieval Song’ draws from deep-rooted English folk traditions and feels like an age-old song given new life. Meanwhile, ‘The More You Say It The Less I Believe It’ feels like a vision of folk from the future. Reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s third record, it takes a more progressive turn with its faint Eastern vibes and off kilter rhythms, but still manages to draw you in with some ethereal vocals and bright mandolin. ‘The Woman With Flowers’ and ‘Invisible Spiders’ (the latter being literally my worst nightmare) carry a mystical feel as though they’re long forgotten Grimm’s fairy tales put to song. The EP’s title track is the most upbeat and conventional track found here, which just makes it stand out and let its beauty radiate all the more. Aglow with childlike innocence and nostalgia, the imaginative lyricism is this release’s crowning glory.

Fans of Joni Mitchell, and the folky side of Led Zeppelin and Hozier, should check out Jane Silver’s new EP Wooden Fortress.

Top Tracks: Andrée Theander – Words I’ve Never Used

I do love a song that knows how to kick things up a notch. Those moments when you’re just drifting along in still waters and suddenly the floodgates open and you can’t help but get caught up in the rush. That’s not to say the softer moments that start ‘Words I’ve Never Used’ don’t have heaps of charm and character, and some impressive acoustic guitar to boot, but it’s in the latter half that Swedish singer/songwriter Andrée Theander really shows us what he’s made of. This Americana tinged arena rock anthem delivers potent hooks to draw you in deeper, with gritty vocals reminiscent in places of Chris Daughtry. Though lyrically it deals with constant bickering breaking down a relationship, when it comes to the song itself ‘Word I’ve Never Used’ carries an infectious vibe that simply can’t be argued with.

Top Tracks: Junaco – Willow

You know those times when a whole season seems to pass you by in a single day? Every time you look out the window the weather is doing something different. You see your surroundings change so starkly in such a short space of time, see a different side to them in dreary drizzle, blue skies, or golden sunsets. I get that same feeling from this new single from LA duo Junaco. The aptly named ‘Willow’ has the uncanny ability to shift and bend into whatever shape the pair will it. The dark, gothic folk opening becomes slowly imbued with bright melodies, warm Americana guitar tones begin to ring out, before they change things up even further by swapping vocal duties and throwing some jangly indie pop guitar and expressive drums into the mix. All this variety, this spectrum of emotions, yet all connected by a single unifying thread.

Top Tracks: Niko – Myself

It’s great to find something new, but let it be said that there is certainly a special charm to be found in the familiar. After all, that’s how most of us discover new music; we hear something we like and say “I want more!”. Case in point the new track from Dutch band Niko is such an inviting amalgamation of elements from songs and artists that I adore. ‘Myself’, already a brilliant critique of the break-down of our self-centred society, also boasts a main riff reminiscent of Rush’s ‘Limelight’, a soaring solo akin to that found in The Only Ones’ ‘Another Girl Another Planet’, and vocals that are sure to win over fans of classic indie. What’s more impressive is that this potent patchwork proves to be greater than the sum of its parts, injecting much of their own character into the infectious melodies.

Top Tracks: Hannah Grace – The Bed You Made

The ever astounding Welsh wonder Hannah Grace has released perhaps her finest track yet. On ‘The Bed You Made’, the title track of a forthcoming EP, she channels heartbreak into creating something truly heavenly. Lyrically it’s as open and heartfelt as they come, and the perspective it offers on the feeling of being betrayed and yet finding contentment in herself shows real strength and maturity, both as a person and as a songwriter. The simple yet soulful arrangement offers such warmth and comfort that the song just seems to embrace you and hold you close until the world seems that bit brighter. I also love how the majority of the video was filmed across a single long take which really adds to its open and honest atmosphere. As always though, it’s Hannah’s gloriously versatile vocals that steal both the spotlight and your heart. She’s going from strength to strength and her debut album just can’t come soon enough.

Top Tracks: REN – Blue Hounds

Belwood favourite REN is back with a brand new track, and my, ‘Blue Hounds’ is a curious one! There’s a real dichotomy at work here between the music and lyrics which on paper shouldn’t work, but in practice REN has pulled it off with real panache. Musically it is an example of introspective folk at it’s finest. A track in the same vein as Nick Drake that just makes you want to stare off into the distance, feel the breeze across your skin, and wonder what it all means. Lyrically however, it’s a politically minded rally cry. Inspired by Britain’s ongoing political clusterfuck, it takes careful aim at the government’s failings, as well as the darker fringes it’s been encouraging, and shares a call to stand firm against those that put themselves above the people. Each of these things, the airy folk vibe and scathing political commentary, are difficult enough tasks on their own, but to nail both as well as ‘Blue Hounds’ does is a real feat of songwriting.