A showcase for their TV appearance that will certainly win new fans for their music.
This EP is released on the back of recording the soundtrack for, and appear in, the TV awareness campaign for the 2021 national census. A good move as they will appear in millions of living rooms, and they didn’t waste the opportunity.
The TV song, a version of The Zombies ‘This Will Be Our Year’ from their ‘Odessey and Oracle’ album is a pleasant enough piece of Americana, bits of roots-rock and Dixieland Jazz, over a relaxed groove. Sounds ideal for a TV advert. The first of two versions of ‘White Noise’, a song about “the information overload from social media that’s overpopulating our senses and dividing opinions”, leads off the EP – it’s a cracking song with a pop/folk sound that would be troubling the charts in a fairer world. Not super contemporary but all the better for it. The sparser live version that closes the disc is as good but different. A song strong enough to stand two different versions in a 15-minute record is a special one. The almost Grateful Dead style piano piece that runs through the live version is particularly effective.
José McGill himself, named after a tequila, from Ireland by way of Leeds it seems, has a voice that is two-parts Rod Stewart to one-part Springsteen. The Vagaband are a rotating cast of excellent instrumentalists, the unidentified female backing singer complementing McGill’s voice nicely. The remaining song on the EP is ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ finds McGill channelling Dylan on a song that has echoes of ‘All Along The Watchtower’.
The year has begun strongly for new music and this EP is proof of that having a contender for song of the year, and a welcome chance for an Americana related act to get some wide exposure on TV.