EP review by firstname.lastname@example.org
He may not be that well known, but Sheffield singer-songwriter Neil McSweeney is a well-respected man and known throughout the music scene in the city, having worked alongside many of its notable talents, including touring with Richard Hawley. With plenty of music already bearing his name, his latest release is 'The Seventeen' EP, which also includes a song of the same name. This track, along with 'In A Dream', is a stripped-down vocals-and-guitar affair, exactly as you'd expect from a conventional singer-songwriter. 'The Seventeen' refers to the number of years a relationship has lasted and it's a pretty song that works well in its simplicity, but it's perhaps when he moves away from these straight acoustic tracks that things get more interesting.
There's something of a Buffalo Springfield vibe to the opening of 'To Live Is To Fly', but that's swept away when the vocals join in and the song becomes a completely British sounding folk song. It's livelier than the two we've previously mentioned and cements his status as a great songwriter (just in case his previous albums hadn't!) but is still kind of folky in a world full of kind of folky guys with guitars. The best track on the EP is the one that moves away from this bare-bones approach and adds drums and a different vocal effect. 'We Are Here' sounds more optimistic and it sounds less conventional despite the fact that this style of writing dates back several decades. The introduction of electric guitar is a nice touch too, recalling The Beta Band or Steve Mason's solo work. There are some very good songs on 'The Seventeen' but by the sounds of it, Neil McSweeney is capable of pushing the boat out a bit further.
Neil McSweeney's website
Catch him live:
SAT 20 JUL The Folk Forest @ Tramlines, Sheffield, UK
FRI 26 JUL Cloudspotting Festival, Gisburn, UK
THU 12 SEP The Portland Arms, Cambridge, UK
FRI 13 SEP The Institute, Kelvedon, UK
SUN 15 SEP The Alex, Southend, UK
THU 19 SEPThe Ironworks, Oswestry, UK
FRI 20 SEP Davenham Player's Theatre, Northwich, UK
TUE 24 SEP The Slaughtered Lamb, London, UK
SAT 28 SEP Ropery Hall, Barton-upon-humber, UK
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