tue 26/09/2017

CD: Kev Minney - Stories of the Sky | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Kev Minney - Stories of the Sky

CD: Kev Minney - Stories of the Sky

Music and astronomy combine in an alluring, original sound world

Kev Minney, among the planets

A striking and memorable debut made possible by a combination of crowd-funding and an Arts Council grant, Stories of the Sky combines 31-year-old Kev Minney’s twin obsessions, music and astronomy.

Born in Northampton, and Brighton-based these last few years, he’s created an unusual and distinctive sound world in which his own impressive acoustic guitar playing is to the fore. The songs are thoughtful, unformulaic, but what makes Stories from the Sky stand out from the pack is the fact that it’s scored for a wide variety of instruments – and real instruments at that, not synthesised. There are some notable contributions from Sophia Bartlette and Nichola Bates, both on violin and viola, Phil Searing, also on fiddle, cellist Amy Squirrel and Steve Morgan on piano and organ, the latter adding a decidedly retro touch to “Stardust”.

There are interesting rhythms, clever use of dissonance, of melody and counterpoint, ostinato-like riffs. There’s light and shade, tension and release; the music breathes. I love the way violin and cello intertwine behind Minney’s bossa nova-ish guitar on “Dark Stars”, which all but segues into “Time”, on which a guitar motif in open tuning creates a feeling of floating in space. “Water pouring, water rising… The land is warm/They warned us,” Minney sings on “Can You Feel It Too?” where discordant guitar notes hint at a coming apocalypse. An appropriate backdrop to Hurricane Harvey.

Stories of the Sky is an accomplished outing in which a myriad influences can be discerned; the imaginative orchestration recalls mid-Sixties Beatles, while the vocal style often hints at Neil Young. But you can also hear Paul Simon, Janis Ian, Nick Drake – and even Clifford T Ward, whose tenor voice was framed by distinctive string writing. Produced by Mercury-nominated producer Jag Jago, it’s an album that grows on you, giving up its musical secrets only on repeated hearings, which is as it should be. It will be fascinating to see how Minney performs the songs on his soon-to-be announced tour.

       Liz Thomson's website

It’s an album that grows on you, giving up its musical secrets only on repeated hearings

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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