Sean Rowe “The Darkness Dressed In Colored Lights”

Fluff & Gravy Records, 2021

Inspired lyrics reside amongst an atmospheric soundscape.

Artwork for Seam Rowe album,'TheDarkness Dressed in Colored Lights'Sometimes it can be fruitful to digress, in this instance from an album review to foraging for food. Rowe has his own Youtube feature, ‘Can I eat this?’ on Youtube which is fascinating. One of his features is on the Chaga fungus to be found on birch trees, not to be eaten but dried, shaved and used to form an ersatz coffee; it brings a fresh dimension to the Arabica vs Robusta debate. Rolling back from our digression to Rowe’s new release a connection with food is retained by which references to squid, rabbit and toast can be discerned in the song titles.

Rowe’s capability as a wordsmith is well illustrated here with sardonic lines like, ‘My face is only for mothers but I age better than wood’ or, ‘The apple of your eye is an oxidising core’. Every line feels crafted as though it has been hewn out of the experience and emotion of its writer. With these lines, a story is formed and the listener awaits eagerly for its denouement.

‘What are we now?’ seems to be an apposite question for the first track of an album; with its gentle swaying rhythm and atmospheric guitar tracks it generates a bewitching mood of reverie. ‘To make it Real’ speaks of disillusion through a general catharsis, building into a finale of rhythmic intensity. Of ‘Little Death’ Rowe explains that, “The dissolving of a relationship can be an internal kind of Mad Max, apocalyptic struggle with your brain who seems to be at odds with you. I do think it’s a universally interesting and scary time and worth writing about”; it also has a catchy brass section to leaven the proceedings. The honesty of ‘Honey in the Morning’ is revealed in the lines,‘Ten percent of me hates that you’re a drifter but most of me is under your spell’ whilst a funky rhythm generates its own kind of spell. Shades of Leonard Cohen seem to echo through, ‘Gabriel’ whilst pathetic fallacy is utilised to effect in’ ‘Tornado Head’ which captivates with its eerie soundscape.

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a forager as: ‘A person or animal that goes from place to place searching for things that they can eat or use’. In a sense whilst Rowe forages in a literal sense for edible wild food, he also forages as a singer/songwriter, turning his feelings and experiences into a kind of universal nourishment that can be appreciated by all who care enough to listen.

8/10
8/10

About Richard Phillips 54 Articles
From the leaden skies of Manchester to the sunny uplands of Cheshire, my quest is for authentic Americana. Love live music, my acoustic guitar and miss my baby (grand piano).

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