Tuesday 16 October 2012

Alec Gross - The Sorry Sorry Sun EP

EP review by KevW

If you care about authenticity, prefer your music to be the product of raw natural talent rather than studio trickery and a team of writers and producers, then the brilliantly organic sound of Alec Gross should be right up your street. But, if you're put off by holier-than-thou musicians preaching on about how real artists should write and record their own tunes and not be record label puppets, then fear not. 'The Sorry Sorry Sun' EP contains some great tunes whose appeal will stretch beyond serious-faced, chin-stoking musos. In order to capture the songs rather than construct them, this EP was recorded live in the studio using a 1973 reel-to-reel tape machine, and as a result you can feel the life and emotion in these tracks. This is stripped back Americana that showcases a great voice and a talented songwriter but also has a warm appeal.

The skeletal 'Talkin' To A Pretty Blonde Girl' consists of the bare essentials and this spacious approach makes it all the more intimate and difficult to ignore; there are echoes of early Neil Young about 'Me Without You', and 'Rose Tattoo' is so delicate that it almost feels too personal to be listening to, as if you're intruding on Gross' private diary. It's on 'Old Elijah & The Sorry Sorry Sun' that his vocals and bare arrangements really soar, proving that you don't need lush orchestration for maximum impact; it may well be the best track here, but running it close is 'Zero Sum'. It's this that opens the EP and also provides its most instantly gratifying moment with the triple assault of acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjitar being that little bit harder and more lively. Alec Gross isn't the only one messing around with hollow, wooden instruments by a long way, but few do it so well.

Alec Gross' website

Stream or download the EP

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