Watermelon Oranges Ep
When Foy Vance signed to Freshwater Hughes Management, he was only their second ever recruit, the first being a naive 13 year old Joss Stone. The flowery soul his music is so easily classifiable as however somewhat defies his physical appearance. As free-thinking bohemians listen to this on organically composted roof gardens in Hampstead, they will be rather surprised but pleased to learn that it comes from a bald 32 year old rather than a bounding Jamie Cullum.
Attributed to the fact that Vance is a real son of a preacherman (yes he was), the EP carries heavy gospel influence. All five of these tracks include some powerful vocal harmonies and the last two feature many rounds of clapping. You could cite much of Mariah Carey's work as an example where this kind of stuff can seem horribly ostentatious, inflating songs that never really had any substance in them with a load of hot air. But Vance - he pulls it off. 'Don't Please Yourself' with its moral message shouted from the rooftops has no hint of pretension; it's all quite genuinely joyous. Whether a gospel choir of uplifting energy and words of wisdom will float your boat though is another matter.
'Homebird', probably the highlight of his debut would quite frankly make Jack Johnson blush. It's undeniably beautiful music. The song is so simple in rhythm and so bright in its melody; all down to an acoustic guitar and what I'd like to think is a skin drum reveals Foy's song writing ability to be highly impressive. It's no wonder 'Grey's Anatomy' bagged this one to be played on their TV series. Foy isn't afraid to showcase his vocal talents either; on 'Home' he belts his voice so bloody forcefully but yet still retains a tender passion and friendly optimism that makes his sound so accessible.
This is everything you'd expect from the endearing musical pocket that is the care-free variety - it's all here. It's just a little more, well.mature. There's always a danger with such artists as Foy Vance that they can lose their appeal once they reach wider-acclaim; those picking up 'Watermelon Oranges' in record stores will probably be those who prefer intimate shows and the warmth of an undiscovered gem. Freshwater Hughes Management may have just struck gold twice, but what rewards it will reap we can only wait and see.
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