E.P. REVIEW: You Find Out On Your Own by Michael Reddington

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Michael Reddington is a singer songwriter hailing from Nottingham who initially had his sights set on being a sound engineer, which for a while he achieved when working at the venue Stealth, where he worked with Bastille and Shy FX. However, an escalator accident ripped off his big toe, leaving him bed ridden for three months. He turned to music to get through, and began his songwriting journey which has led to this EP.

His music is essentially well crafted pop/rock in the great British tradition and you can hear myriad influences in these three songs, from The Beatles to The Smiths, though he also cites American songwriters like Neil Young, Ryan Adams and Tom Petty. His lyrics are very much rooted in the struggles of everyday life.

Opening song You Find Out On Your Own is an excellent start, a mid paced piece of guitar pop that has a nice Beatles-esque lead guitar line, warm pulsing bass, subtle piano and rich organ filling out the sound. It alternates between a lilting 4/4 rhythm on the intro and verse then switches to 2/4 on the bridge/chorus which injects momentum into the music.

Lyrically, it’s strong, a rumination on figuring things out through your own life experiences rather than accepting what others say: “I’ve been keep on making my own rules, avoiding fools…they don’t teach you any of this in school, I guess you find out on your own…”. His vocals are very good, comfortable singing in a high range and the whole song is catchy and memorable while avoiding anything predictable.

Monotony Lobotomy is slightly faster paced and in 4/4 throughout, lyrically a melancholy tale of frustration through being stuck in a humdrum situation and longing for a chance to escape, though still with a ray of hope for the future (“Just one chance and they’ll be no stopping me….”). The vocal melody and main hook are haunting, expressing the weariness of the lyrics perfectly.

Final track Uniform is a slow paced acoustic track, and lyrically takes an acerbic look at those to conform rather than show any individuality: “You’re a nancy of a man, got to do for them all you can…in uniform“. It’s another very melodic and memorable song, augmented by some lovely strings as the track progresses.

Overall, this is an excellent EP that shows Michael Reddington as a quality songwriter both musically and lyrically, with a fine gift for melody and a voice that is both distinctive and easy on the ear. While it’s hard these days for a songwriter to break through, he has everything it takes and I look forward to hearing a whole album from him.

 

Alex Faulkner (The Faulkner Review)

 

VERDICT: 8.9 out of 10

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REVIEW – Ed Layne: Sea Is Raging, Keep on Rolling, Five Days From Home, Maple Street, Vicious Circle

ED LAYNE Ed Layne is a one-man band, a multi-instrumentalist of the hard rock/blues persuasion hailing from Northern California. His voice is rather reminiscent of Neil Young but from the numerous meaty riffs present on these songs, you can tell Ed is a major fan of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. As you listen to these five tracks, prog-rock influences such as Yes and Rush emerge through the more sophisticated touches and epic structures.

Sea Is Raging is the shortest of the five at nearly five minutes, but is quite an epic in itself. The music mirrors the title perfectly, a veritable tsunami of sound cooked up by a wall of heavy guitars and drums, contrasted nicely by Layne’s voice. The lyrics are suitably apocalyptic and seem to be about the dark times the world is going through, but with a sense of perspective: “In a hundred years this won’t matter much, its just another generation that’s out of touch…”.

The modulation at around the three-minute mark is something you wouldn’t find in standard blues-rock and there is none of the self-indulgent lead guitar noodling some associate with this genre. Every solo is effective and tightly constructed, always adding to the music. Second track Keep on Rolling is a stark contrast, a mid-paced country rock ballad that show’s Layne’s gentler side and is another well-crafted track, with nice acoustic guitar work.

Third track Five Days From Home blends the style of the first two tracks, starting with a Stairway To Heaven type acoustic section then exploding into another colossal riff and climaxing with another enjoyable Tony Iommi-style solo. Tracks four and five, Maple Street and Vicious Circle, are both great upbeat rockers featuring some fantastically mellifluous guitar runs. Virtuosity nearly always seems to go hand in hand with the desire to ‘show off’, but Ed always plays for the song, not his ego.

Overall, these five songs comprise an extremely enjoyable half hour of carefully crafted rock music that melds its influences into something potent, breathing some new life into a genre that some feel has ‘all been done’. By taking the best elements of his favourite bands and adding his own twist, Ed Layne has shown that rock is far from dead and I’d recommend that everyone should check out his music, and turn up the volume.

 

Alex Faulkner

Verdict: 8.5 out of 10

 

LINKS: SOUNDCLOUD