Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Long Road Home: Charlie Simpson - review

Charlie Simpson's new album, Long Road Home, is stunning.

It came out a couple of months ago, in July, and I have completely fallen for the beautifully put together, acoustically driven sound. This album has actually made me feel kind of relieved that Busted ever split up (the horror!!!), just because I doubt they would have ever taken their sound in this direction.

It's really not what you might expect from Simpson after hearing the music of Busted and Fightstar. I feel like he's really explored music very well, and moved through the genres until finding, essentially, what's best for him. He's gone for the pop sort of sound with Busted, then something more rock driven, and now a more singer/songwriter alternative, minorly folk kind of vibe. And I think this is the best one for him, and it suits him really well.

Charlie's first album, Young Pilgrim, had a fairly similar sound to this album. I would liken him somewhat to the likes of Bon Iver, Newton Faulkner, and maybe even strike some similarities with Lewis Watson. It's definitely one of my favourite styles of music.

Long Road Home is a really nice, upbeat start to the album. I really like the acoustic instrumentation that really shows off Simpson's musical ability, in a way that I think wasn't evident so much in Busted. The vocal harmonies remind me of Bon Iver so much, but the song as a whole has a lot more drive than most Bon Iver songs. I really like the lyrics as well; it's sort of a reminder of how far you've come, to the point that it's further home than you might go on in the future. Listen here

Winter Hymns is a very nostalgic song, with some very sad and somewhat regretful lyrics. 'I promise I won't make a sound, 'cause I figure you no longer want me around.' It's so sad and as a listener you're reminded of how unwanted and hopeless you might have felt at times, which kind of hurts, but the blend of instruments makes everything feel lighter and not as painful as the lyrics really are. The acoustic guitar throughout the first verse and chorus starts things off really softly and I just love the simplicity of it. The instruments added further in give more texture and render quite an uplifting feel. Listen here

I think Emily was the first song on the album I actually listened to and I was just amazed by how similar the sound is to that of Bon Iver, who I really do love. The pretty harmonies and very simplistic instrumentation are a real winner for me, so if you like that kind of music, then this album is definitely for you. I like the idea of just having to close your eyes to be with someone; it's a very sweet lyric, and I find it quite reassuring, as sad as it really is. Listen here

One of my favourite songs on the album is Ten More Days, which I found quite surprising. There's a bigger texture to the instrumentation but the lyrics are really well suited to it, with the most driven overall sound. 'Keep your head up' gives a really positive message, acting as a reminder that things get better if you let them. I love the drums in this, the beat's really strong but not too much. Listen here

Still Young is my favourite on the album, I think. It's a ballad with a bit of drive behind it, and with the guitar really dominating. The lyrics are so lovely: 'the night wraps its arms around me,' is the prettiest lyric, and I really get it. Somehow to me the night always feels more comfortable than the day. This song is oddly inspiring, and kind of a reminder that there's still time for you to achieve all the things you ever hoped for. The nicest message. Listen here

I think Would You Love Me Any Less is one of the most beautiful ballads. The lyrics remind me a lot of Lewis Watson, like, so much. They're quite anecdotal in a sense. like a story, but with more depth in the chorus. I think this is one that you just have to listen to, so I highly recommend you do. Listen here

This album is so much more than I expected. I don't know why I wasn't expecting much, but I really like it. Having not had any new music from Bon Iver in a few years, it's almost like a refreshing recreation of his sound, but with more added to it, and Simpson's own individuality blended in very nicely.

Let me know what you think of the album, or if you know of any other similar artists, because I'd love to check them out.

Until next time.

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