If discovering an acoustic singer-songwriter who stands out from the pack can be like finding a musical treasure, then Lewis Mckale’s new EP Black & White is surely unplugged gold. The four-song collection is driven by the artist’s unique lyrical power, energy and personality, making for an outstanding album. Set for release Apr. 26th through Spotify and iTunes, a limited run of hand crafted CD’s will also be available. But there is more to say about the music.
Now Hear This
The opening track from Black & White, “Other Days,” begins with crisp guitar strumming before the vocals take hold over an intermittent palm muted pattern. The singing and instrument phrasing are passionate, musical and honest, indications of an impressive song and a compelling recording artist. A man and a guitar can still be an effective combination. Mckale delivers moving intensity and possesses a special gravitas without being too heavy. As for the EP, things get even better from here.
“Burn It Down” is a 3:16 contemporary folk highlight packed with chiming yet ambitious acoustic fretwork, remaining vibrant and balanced within the mix. This time, Mckale is joined by Brighton-based soul and blues singer Phily K for added perfection. The two create a sound outside typical folk boundaries with the combined drama of their voices. The song production is crystalline, as though you were in the studio when Black & White was recorded.
Changing things up, “Losing Her” is an evocative, personal melody involving stubborn egos and broken feelings. You can hear the despair in whispery lyrics near the beginning of the song. Mckale’s guitar playing is gentler and the feeling melancholy, revealing a softer side of the music as he sings, “Hanging on, the edge of hope, buried deep, I’m buried deep…” Similarly, the last cut on the EP, “The Fear,” begins as a slower, serious matter before coming to a halt and proceeding into the second half of the song at 1:20 with an earnest dose of strumming. LM’s singing has more of a rock approach than the other songs.
All things considered, performance and musicianship make Black& White a recommended choice.
Outside the Studio
An exciting live performer, Lewis Mckale has shared the stage with artists including John Power (The La’s/Cast), Dave McPherson (InMe), Chris TT, Nell Bryden, Robb Johnson, Attilla The Stockbroker, Kelly Kemp.
The artist’s previous releases include the album Bad Cop, Bad Cop; and the EPs Reflections (Lewis Mckale and Matt Bonner); Something Borrowed; The Bigger Picture; and My Fathers Son.
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