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Constellation Guide: = BAD //

= AVERAGE // = BRILLIANT //

= DECENT // = MASTERPIECE

He who never timing self-released

Social networking hasn’t just boosted interactivity between musicians and fans in the ‘I LUFF U CAN I GET AN RT PLZ?’ sense; it’s done much more than that. Facebook and Twitter enable artists to link fans to fundraising recording campaigns, which means dreams of a new record can become a reality. This is precisely what Aaron Rosell, aka He Who Never, has done for his second EP, Timing. Rather than asking friends to dedicate an inconceivable of amount of unpaid time to help him record his latest efforts, he set up an Indiegogo campaign to pay them back. Appropriately, this do-gooder from Minnesota has made an entirely open and honest record in Timing. Lyrics detail relationships thwarted by distance, the uncertainties of growing up, memories, hopes, regrets and redemption. Lead single ‘Pardon’ is one polished and powerful piano ballad. The galloping drums and clean keys do well to keep up with Rosell’s absolutely stunning recording voice, helping transform the track from docile beginnings to a tectonic-shifting blow-out. The next few tracks open with those same, vacant piano chords and you begin to worry what similarities the rest of the EP will harness. Thankfully, ‘Mirrors’ presents something altogether different: a dark, minor note driven track full of menacing echoes, skittish guitar harmonics and mechanical drum patterns. It’s not unlike something Muse would pen in their early days, save for the rather incongruous but impressive rap from collaborating artist Metasota. ‘Fault Lines’ jolts back to the calmness of EP opener, ‘Oars’, but finally forces full expression out of Rosell. Breathy falsettos welcome in a seven minute build-up, while bottleneck guitars and heavyweight drums flesh out the song’s beautifully sombre piano notes. Timing lacks the variation that would make it a sure-fire hit, but the remarkable songwriting and solid production behind it do more than make it an enjoyable listen. Timing proves that Rosell has undeniable talent, and a whole host of people who believe in it. Charlotte Krol

My Grey Horse Stop before the dry river CRC

Hailing from Stratford-Upon-Avon, but finding core pockets of fans in Oxfordshire, Birmingham and London, My Grey Horse have been signed up to CRC Music Group since 2011 and released their debut EP, The Markley Banks, early last year to mass acclaim. With the release of this exquisite new EP, Stop Before The Dry River, many are tipping My Grey Horse as a banker for a big breakthrough in 2013.  EP opener, and recent single, ‘Need Wood’ is a catchy indie-pop hit-in-waiting; brotherly backing harmonies, an unshakable vocal hook and a languid, punchy guitar style are reminiscent of early Weezer. ‘Big Night’ is the best track on the EP. The chirpy synth line and the lilting, interweaving harmonies lie at odds with the melancholic lyricism: beautifully bittersweet.  Had the first two tracks been released as a double a-side, this would have been the perfect release. Despite the wonderful squawking guitars on ‘Last Chance’, the track fails to reach the absorbing heights of the previous two and the acoustic tenderness of ‘Catch Up’ feels like a somewhat superfluous addition. 

“a catchy indie-pop hit in waiting... brotherly backing harmonies, an unshakeable vocal hook and a languid, punchy guitar style” These boys certainly know how to write pleasingly catchy tunes and with songs like ‘Need Wood’ and ‘Big Night’ under their belt, it is clear to see why this is one horse worth backing all the way. Tom Jowett

MUSIC 09

Issue #6: Feb/Mar 2013  

Welcome to the sixth issue of Spires, Oxford's best culture magazine!

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