Title: Whole Picture
Label: Lazy Acre
On Whole Picture singer-songwriter Stylusboy has penned six pleasing songs that deal with companionship, leaving regrets behind, and taking life one step at a time. They’re solid, universal themes but Stylusboy delivers them with a sincerity that makes these familiar ideas appealing.
The title track is a jaunty uptempo indie-folk number, with a pleasant arrangement of glockenspiel, percussion, strummed acoustic guitar and female backing vocals. Beyond the Flags has a country feel, adding a banjo to the mix of instruments. Left to Hide is a slower song – its use of cello creates a haunting, emotional backdrop for the sweet vocal harmonies of Steve Jones and Rachel Grisedale.
On Something Worth Keeping metronomic percussion and vocals are combined simply with acoustic guitar. The stripped back production is particularly interesting – the movement of Jones’s fingers on the frets causes that authentic acoustic guitar squeak, giving it a live feel. The closing track Dave’s Song, is a heartfelt tribute to a friend and, wisely, Stylusboy keeps it sincere by stripping back even more, using only voice and guitar.
Gunfight at the OK Corral brings back the glockenspiel/drums/guitar arrangement used on ‘Whole Picture’. What makes this the standout song of the EP is its use of violent metaphor to describe a sense of togetherness. Jones’s writing is taken to another level here as the lyrics are more oblique and intriguing than in the other songs. It will be interesting to see Stylusboy further develop this image-led approach to writing in the future. But for now, this collection of songs will appeal to anyone who enjoys gentle, earnest indie-folk.
By Amanda Penlington
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