Neil is an Italian singer-songwriter who released his first demo in 2006 as part of first with Hope leaves and then released his debut solo album ‘Apart’ in 2011. His genre is described as “folky pop music with dreamy lyrics” which I think is a good a descriptor as anything.
‘Spleen’ has a tight little intro that reminded me a lot of a song that played in Life is Strange, but the intro is the only thing that sounded similar, the song itself blends styles quite well I couldn’t quite define it but I know that I like it. I know that this song has an 8 minute long second part that rounds of the the album and i’m looking forward to seeing how Neil ties these two tracks together.
‘Blank Sheet’ has a softer more melancholic intro, i’m reminded a lot of a band I recently review called Anomalies, their music is described as ambient, and it really does have that feeling of filling an entire room, ‘Black Sheet’ shares that same quality, but whereas some groups that are ambient in nature rely mostly on instrumentals somehow neil manages to have a distinct vocal section that’s quite striking but still have this quality where the song just kinda washes over you.
‘My Tired Heart’ changes things again, I can’t say that this song doesn’t also have its fair share of melancholy but it’s faster, which is kind of ironic considering the title of the track. I will say this, the song is anything but tired, it’s the kind of song I’d suggest you pop in your earphones and go travelling because it’ll really add to the experience, but then again I am guilty of staging my life like it’s a movie with a soundtrack so that might not work for everyone. I guess what i’m trying to say is that this and the vast majority of the tracks on this album are excellent mood music, they have the impressive ability to just enhance the moment. Again tmi about the reviewer but when I write up my reviews regardless of how much I listened to the tracks before, they’re on while I write just in case anything else occurs to me and sometimes it can be distracting but in this case it helped to speed me up and tighten up things.
‘Chains’ is probably one of my favourite tracks on the album, listening to it right after the other tracks and alongside the album as a whole you get a feel of a style and narrative written through each song, but when I listened to each track on its own I felt this track was a standout among the rest of the songs. I can’t really define why that is except that maybe it broke up the melancholy a little and was more like a classic rock track than the previous tracks.
‘Promise’ had a really light intro, just an easygoing acoustic guitar that lulls you a little, and then Neil’s voice eases you even further. It’s a very relaxing song, that very much like ‘Blank Sheet’ washes over the listener. This is another personal favourite like ‘Chain’ but whereas I liked ‘Chains’ because it was different I just liked this track because it’s a really good song. The kind of song I’d just listen to over and over again.
‘Clown’ Has a really upbeat intro especially compared to the previous track, I like how Neil balances up the fast and slow which each track so that the listener doesn’t wind down too much but it’s not all energy which can be equally tiring. Again I can hear a trend across the songs, a shared style and note that binds all the tracks together. I like when that happens, the songs don’t need to sound the same either but it’s good to hear an artist who has a musical identity and I can pick up traces of that in these songs.
‘The Meaning Fades’ has my favourite intro on the album, it also starts with an acoustic guitar opening like ‘Promise’ but it’s a very different track. I really enjoyed listening to this track, it sticks in the head and had me humming it a lot. In many ways in blends the styles used in the previous tracks, and does so quite well,
‘Not a Love Song’ also has an amazing intro, a little heavier than anything else on the album, it has a lot of build up engineered well through the instrumental parts, and Neil gives a great vocal performance as well.
‘Moth’ I wasn’t sure what to think about with a song called ‘Moth’ but I was pleasantly surprised, I felt Neil’s voice was a lot clearer in this track and it was easier to follow the narrative than how the song made me feel and it should be applauded for that.
‘Awaiting’ changes the game again, and so far every new thing has been welcomed and this was no exception, like I said the way Neil balances the tracks and changes them up so that the listener doesn’t lose interest. Awaiting is definitely a song you should wait for. And sorry about that terrible attempt at a joke but I can’t get through a review without at least one.
‘Spleen II’ like i mentioned before is the second part to the opening track and It’s largely just a continuation but it does close off the album really well and the track itself is very strong so I have no complaints.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org