The McKenzie FIX is the artistic moniker of Scottish musician, singer and songwriter Ewan McKenzie. He was formerly the frontman of Edinburgh-based group Emporium and their album Silver Brainwaves received support from the Scottish Arts Council. His songs have also been supported by Radio One, DJ Steve Wright on BBC World Service and received Album Of The Month on popular German show, Popscene. He’s also garnered a 5-star review in UK’s Guitarist magazine as well as NME coverage.
This song, Alone, is taking from the forthcoming debut album, to be released later this year. The song is an alternative pop piano ballad that acts as a fine showcase for McKenzie’s craftsmanship as a songwriter. Opening with a poignant piano motif, Ewan enters with a plaintive and distinctive vocal style over inventive and unexpected chord changes.
After a haunting verse accompanied by piano and organ, it develops into a more rhythmic section. There’s a distinctive classical and even operatic influence in the complex structure of the song as well as the sophisticated use of synth strings.
Lyrically, it’s a rather poignant tale of a young lady who feels very much an outsider in social situations as captured by the opening lines: “Alone in a room full of strangers, by herself in a roomful of friends, it seems that they whisper in corners and she wonders will this never end?”
The song was co-written with lyricist Kay Russell, whose sensitive portrayal of loneliness and social awkwardness is perfectly married to the music, resulting in a very fine artistic collaboration.
Overall, this is an extremely well written and performed alternative pop song with classical overtones. Ewan McKenzie’s music is clearly more about art than simply creating a commercial product and he clearly has a gift for composing beautiful melodies. Kay Russell’s lyrics about isolation seem particularly apposite during this era of social distancing and hopefully many will be moved by this touching song.
VERDICT = 9.1 out of 10
The McKenzie FIX · The McKenzie FIX – Alone