22 November 2015
VerseChorusVerse & David Lyttle - Say & Do
I do like a collaboration between two artists - it can be a very rewarding experience and it can bring something joyful to the world like the recent work between Electronica mutant The Bug and drone overlords Earth on 'Boa'. The opposite end of the spectrum is you can get work such as the cover of "Dancing in the Street" by Mick Jagger and David Bowie which does nothing to enhance either career (even though it was a number one single, it was still one of those moments where a lot of booze must have been involved). This review will focus on the latest release involving all round good lad Tony Wright (aka VerseChorusVerse) and Mobo nominated Jazz musician David Lyttle. The album was created after VCV visited Mr Lyttle's Nerve Centre Musician-In-Residence studio in Derry, out of that initial meeting and bounding over various music they created enough material to record this album. It was recorded with two microphones, a guitar and drum kit and minimal post production as well. So before you have even listened to a note, it feels like a very organic project.
Starting the album is "No Window" which is a simple tune, a tune that bemoans the lack of opening to a person via their heart (I think that all the lyrics would fit in a very short paragraph) and it bounces along with a joy to the music. The guitar is very upbeat and the drumming very little and it keeps the beat going along at a brilliant rate. You cannot help falling under its charms as it goes on toward the dawn. "Seek and Ye Shall Find Blues" is a number that I can instantly identify with; the drumming is beautiful from Mr Lyttle as it commands this track with a subtle performance, Mr Wright over a wonderful blues riff which rises in pitch and volume when needed gives a great performance vocally. It is a good, honest number that you can play in any environment and it will pick up the spirits around you, it has a soul that can be missing from music at times and it is refreshing to hear it on this track. "Have Some Soul" starts off with some light brushes on the drum kit and some gentle strumming on the guitar as the blues flow even heavier on this song that "Seek.....". It is gentle and heavy in equal measure as the vocals have a weight behind them, but the music is subtle and only comes to the forefront when required. Over the course of the album, this is one I have revisited more often that some of the others - one of the highlights of the record.
"Babe I Don't Know" starts off with just Mr Wright and his guitar singing about the uncertainty of a relationship and not knowing the future (but not really knowing the past either). When the percussion does start, you do not really notice it at first and it just gives a gentle support. It is a lonesome track which is reflective in nature and emotive in delivery. I like it a lot, it is thoughtful and romantically hopeful to the very end, even if it does not know the path that it is on. "My Lucky Rabbit Foot" is the fifth track on this release, it is a song about wanting more luck, regretting things that were not said and the aftermath of those thoughts and actions which give you the blues. Its mournful tone is beautiful and it is a good old fashion blues number for the broken hearted to find a fellow soul that can identify with their current plight. "Generational Eclipse" is a song focused about the current age where we are fed so much information, where people are flooded with so many facts that it is impossible to see the truth from all the falsehoods which are force fed to us on a daily bases. It might seem like a simple song, but the lyrics are incredibly deep and match what I feel about certain the information age which we currently experience. Another great number on this album as we head to the final third of the album.
"Sudden Song" is a song about the place where Mr VCV calls home (I will not insult anyone's intelligence by naming it, as I do not have a clue and I would not want to insult him by getting it wrong), it talks about old haunts, special places and whilst loving this city it also has weaved into the fabric of the song, the desire to see the world and other places. It is gentle and reminds me of the songs of Allan Hull and Lindisfarne when they are talking about Newcastle upon Tyne, no matter where you are, there is a part of your home in your heart even when your away and this song feels like home. The penultimate song is called "Everybody Else" is a gentle song about wanting to step to your own beat, it also does not have drums on it as it has an organ instead to accompany the guitar and musings of Sir VCV. Mr Lyttle is very subtle in his performance here as it just comes into focus very briefly and it give the song a warmth. It is a gentle song that has a serious message, trying to be yourself is hard at times and it is good to see & hear people who want to forge their own path in this world. Ending the album is "Yet to Break" which is a song about waking up in the morning after the companion of the night has left you during your slumber, leaving you with a sense of paranoia and lustful wanting. It has bass running through it, the guitar is not as loud as the rest of the album and the percussion is beautifully minimal. All in all, it is a great way to end the album with a song about on a romantic notion.
This was not a release I was expecting, to be honest it was not till about a week beforehand when Mr Wright put on his Facebook page that it was coming that I was aware of its imminent arrival. I would like to thank him for letting me have a listen to get a head start on this review as well (as always, you are a gentleman and scholar), but how has it turned out? Well, I think it is obvious that I like this record a lot as I have been nothing but nice about it from beginning to end. It is a gentle record that invites the listen in and shows how a good collaboration should work. You have nine quality songs here, all of which complement each other very well and I am now going to have to investigate the work of Mr Lyttle as well. This album is a great album and I recommend you to check it out.
8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
You can purchase the digital version of Say & Do from Amazon here
If you are on that iTunes thing, you can purchase it from here
You can follow the activities of VerseChorusVerse on Facebook here
You can follow the activities of David Lyttle on Facebook here
At present Say & Do is not available on streaming services, if this changes I will update it here
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