Reviewer: Alexandra Keene
When American singer-songwriter Joey Costello embarked on an artistic sabbatical to Nottingham, he brought with him a Damien Rice inspired style of soulful folk that is sure to leave a lasting influence on the city’s music scenes. In fact, with the announcement of his upcoming 10 show tour across the United Kingdom, it may impact folk fans across the country.
News of Costello’s tour comes with the announcement of his newest music release, an EP of 4 songs entitled The Wind Blows By. Release date, Friday June 15th. The collection’s title track kicks everything off, sitting at the top of the album’s listing, and I have to say it is a nice start. The tune does fall slightly into the realm of pop, leaving those with more alternative preferences perhaps wanting something different from the songs that make up the rest of the album. This is a tune that definitely has a chance of charting well in the pop music scene, which is no small feat. Acoustic guitar instrumentals and an emphasis on the lyrics of a song are themes throughout this EP, and its first song starts this going in style.
I don’t think there is such thing as a folk album without a broken hearted love song, is there? Where I Long To Be, the second track of this release, is exactly that. Slow, deliberate lyrics describing love and all the ways it can hurt you come backed by acoustic instrumentals that, it has to be said, fit extremely well with the tone of this tune. I have nothing against a love song, especially in a genre such as this, and this is a good example of one; it certainly tugs on the heart strings at times. Costello tests out his vocal range and ability – to varying degrees of success – as this song moves through its paces, and I’m left with the feeling that whilst trying different sounds is commendable, in a tune like this its best to stick to what you know.
In Your Eyes comes in next, another deliberately slow mix of soulful folk and pop, and by this time it is apparent that this is where Costello’s musical alliances lie: melodic lyrical pieces with acoustic instrumentals for backing. I would usually say I’d wish for a song with a slightly different tone, to give the album a different layer and keep the listener interested mostly, but with a collection this small that’s a difficult feat to achieve. With only four songs to work with, it is no wonder Costello has stuck to what he knows in this respect – and that, I think, is a reasonable decision to make.
The EP’s final song, Butterfly, immediately grabs your attention; a vocal shadow is present from the start adding a pleasant texture to the tune. Moreover, the slightly faster pace of this particular track leads me to think its placement of last on the release was a perfect choice. The album builds over its course, leading to a feeling that it is a complete work – nothing has been omitted where it should have stayed.
Costello writes on his website that he has, in the past, been compared to artists such as Passenger and City and Colour – it is easy to see why. The Wind Blows By weaves in between folk and pop at times effortlessly, and is at the very least a show in how to produce a nice, if slightly typical, album. Suffice to say, I will be looking out for the next music coming from this artist – what is done is done very well and what hasn’t been done may not have been entirely necessary to begin with.
Joey’s website: joeycostello.com