Luke Sital-Singh “New Haze”(EP) (Raygun Music, 2020)

Americana is a broad church, one which warmly welcomes L.A. dweller and English ex-pat Luke Sital-Singh to its blended choir. Sital-Singh got his big break in 2017 writing a song that was used for Silent Witness and is now based in LA. His acoustic, almost lullaby, singer-songwriter style straddles dream pop and folk, but like most interesting music, defies strict generalisation.

‘New Haze’ is Sital-Singh’s first release since his third studio album, ‘A Golden State‘ came out last year. While that may seem soon, this EP is a collection of collaborations exploring his move to L.A. and what that has meant to him. Ideas of home, community, migration, and identity are heard in the lyrics and titles of the tracks.

Working with well-decorated songwriter Steve Aiello, ‘Almost Home‘, the opener, is a quiet contemplation about immigration and new familiarity. Lyrically comparable to the Cheers tv theme tune, but with the twist that he’s speaking about his new home.

The second collaboration, ‘Skin of a Fool‘, is with UK folk scenester John Smith, whose album ‘Hummingbird‘ received much acclaim last year. Lyrics such as “away from home, treacherous, full of holes, incomplete” express his concerns about the career precariousness of a big move away from the UK circuit to the L.A. scene; A storm he appears to have weathered.

The third collaboration is ‘My Sweet Side‘ with guitarist Ciaran Lavery, award-winning guitarist and songsmith from Ireland. The dobro on this song is the pinnacle of the EP and is matched with confessional lyrics full of self-doubt and reverence for romantic unity. Its stillness and quiet mean that every note is important, a counterpoint to the fingerpicking of the other songs.

The last track ‘Undefeated‘ is a collaboration with Matt Hales aka Aqualung who similarly got success with a song appearing in an advert, and is also a Brit who has moved to L.A. The song is about our one foe, time, that remains “undefeated”. Aqualung’s contribution is instantly recognisable although Sital-Singh’s own sound is well-matched to Matt Hales soft dreaminess.

New Haze‘ is anything but. Sital-Singh has condensed some of the best of this overlooked Americana scene through this collaborative work. Blending Old World Ireland and England, with both East and West coast New World musicians, we find not so much a fusion as a commonality.

Ex-pats in L.A. blend Brittanica and Americana
6/10

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