This CD edition is the 4th in a series of CDs that Alex has released over time under the ‘Silhouettes and Pirouettes’ title. He is an accomplished musician and covers a range of instruments on this collection from acoustic and electric guitars, bass, piano, ukulele…even some drum programming…oh and of course lead vocals.
It’s a collection of ‘pop’ songs if a genre needs to be identified for anyone, and Alex draws on a massive Beatles influence in his songwriting…but also for me there’s contemporaries such as Neil Finn / Crowded House pop sensibilities and harmonies sprinkled all over as well.
The collection lists 12 songs plus two ‘bonus tracks’. The highlights for me are ‘Smile’ which I feel is dripping with toe tapping ‘sing a long’ lines and very much ‘good time pop music’ and there’s nothing wrong with that. ‘Blow Me Down’ echoes Beatlesque style and reality check cynicism with the song written back in 1994 at the launch of The Lottery and peoples false ‘hope’ of get rich quick ideals. ‘Shall I Pretend’ is a good piano driven song as is ‘Just Another Teenage Dream’…which is almost ‘Our House’ by Crosby, Stills and Nash.
‘Who We Are’ is wonderful…it’s not suffocating in instruments, it’s basically vocals, ukulele and piano and is a lovely song…with a ‘pop art’ ending! ‘Candles and Wine’ sees a re-working of an old song of Alex’s from his days in Lift who were a very good pop band who put out a good collection of CD/EPs during the late 90s. This version sees the excellent addition of saxophone and vocals from Chelsea Wood and it works a treat. ‘White Rose and The Child’ is a piano instrumental from Alex and is class.
The official listing ends with another re-working of an old Lift favourite ‘Can’t See The Sun’ which is a story of a young heroin addict and the life sucking suffering of the addiction…it’s a strong song. We then get two bonus tracks ‘The Man Inside’ and ‘I Will Be The Air’ that both flow simply and effortlessly with nourishing pop song ingredients. In my opinion…for what it’s worth…the album should have been streamlined down to the songs I’ve listed…but that’s just my opinion.
To use metaphors in summing up…Alex is like a very good chef who is going to put together a brilliant menu of pop music one of these days, he’s not quite there yet with this collection purely because I feel there’s too much…but he’s nearly there because once he gets rid of the over complicated stuff and relaxes with the basic ingredients he’ll nail it, you can taste it in this menu.
Alex Vann is a very talented man.
The album is available here https://alexvann.bandcamp.com/