Guy Garvey – Courting the SquallCultureMusicAlbum reviews
Already gaining considerable recognition as frontman of successful English rock group Elbow, Guy Garvey takes up the occasion to release his first solo album, Courting the Squall. Seeking to convey his distinctive musical character, the album navigates listeners through a unique musical journey that doesn’t “fit the Elbow template”.
The album ventures into various stylistic territories, kicking off with an energetic overture. Angela’s Eyes is an affirmation of Garvey’s artistic intent: to delve into styles and influences beyond the niche Elbow has found in the musical mainstream. Led by the Northern-tinged vocals of Garvey, it glorifies in an unashamedly funky groove with strutting guitar chords, razor-sharp synth patterns and heart-pounding beats and rhythms – the fundamental qualities to rebound energy back and forth between himself and a stadium-rock audience. By contrast, Electricity stands out as a unique number, which sees Garvey and American singer Jolie Holland side-by-side meandering through a hazy late-night jazz backdrop filled with delicate piano figures, melodious saxes, a sonorous bass line and gentle drums hit with a brush stick intonation.
While this solo opportunity is a chance to make a statement of creative intent, Garvey does retain some Elbow-like anthemic influences throughout the album, particularly in title track Courting the Squall and Broken Bottles and Chandeliers. The gentle ballad ambiance of Courting the Squall showcases the classic Garvey falsetto vocal tone, married with a march-like beat, lyrical harp phrases and sparkling percussive timbres. On the other hand, Broken Bottles and Chandeliers is a much more rapturous affair, with rich brass and choral harmonies and textures ringing feelings of euphoria.
Courting the Squall is an record of two perspectives. While it does store glimpses of Elbow-influenced familiarity, it is perhaps not a record to be greatly passionate about for Elbow enthusiasts. If one could look at it another way, this album gives us a preview of the musical directions Guy Garvey could potentially explore further in his career.
Courting The Squall is released on 30th October 2015, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Courting The Squall here: