Jack Savoretti's new EP 'Sweet Hurt' is significant for a number of reasons. It's his first extended release between albums (I suspect that you can expect his fourth full-length effort shortly), it's helped to promote his recent live dates and, most importantly, it's seen him hone his pop sensibilities by working with Adele cohort Samuel Dixon who has co-written and produced two of the four tracks here. The result is a dreamy and classic pop sound that emphasises the strengths of Savoretti's soulful voice.
Savoretti's voice has a tendency to draw comparisons with Ray LaMontagne, however the Italian-English singer-songwriter manages to avoid imitation by utilising soaring harmonies to make his brand of folk-pop very much his own. Indeed, the four tracks on this EP are an excellent showcase not only for his song writing, but they also demonstrate his grasp of orchestration. Dixon's influence, as strings are introduced, is undeniable, but the funky or up tempo guitar parts that drive the tracks along are a significant step forward from Savoretti's roots in more traditional folk. Lyrically, it's all bittersweet heartbreak (hence the title), but musically, there's a hazy sixties vibe that's the real attraction here.
Standout track 'Broken Glass' is the perfect example of this instrumentation. The song could easily have been performed on a solo guitar, but the harpsichord, strings and brass take it in an unexpected direction. It suddenly sounds like a forgotten track from the vaults, bathed in the type of orchestration that the likes of Adele have become famous for. It's no longer a simple folk melody, but an exercise in pop production that's surprisingly successful. Similarly, the string-led waltz that develops on 'The Hurt' is an unexpected treat. Sparingly but effectively deployed, it's this instrumentation that really appeals to the ear on this EP.
The catchiest melody certainly belongs to title track 'Sweet Hurt', but it's less adventurous than its fellow compositions. Indeed, it's those songs that make the 'Sweet Hurt' EP worth hearing. It's sure to add to the slow-burning success that Savoretti is finding with film and TV contributions, so let's just hope that album number four follows in a similar vein and pushes him closer to the commercial success he deserves.
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