As the tinsel and trees start to emerge ahead of the holiday season, it’s refreshing to find something simple and authentic. Meet Melanie Crew. Pure voice, simple acoustic accompaniment, and slice-of-life lyrics. Recorded and produced at her home in London, her music is a testament to musical integrity.
Melanie Crew released her third EP, Midnight Sounds, just a few weeks ago. She must be doing something right in her homespun way, as her most recent release was described by BBC Radio 6 Music’s Tom Robinson as a “gorgeously deep rich new song”. As she explains:
“No recording studio, no PR, no record label – but I’ve had radio play on BBC shows – shows that anyone can make music!”
It’s probably not quite that easy. There’s a shed load of talent behind the simplicity of these songs and, we’d guess, a fair bit of hard work, too. Placing a story within a song, for instance, is an intricate craft, and a skill that Melanie Crew immediately demonstrates with “Evening Light”. The opening two lines set the scene of what is to come:
“You take me by the hand, it reminds me of our time before,
There were dreams I could touch when we both felt so much,
And we’d stop to consider it all.’
This is a song of romance and uncertainty, beautifully executed with layered guitars supporting crystal clear vocals.
“Visions” continues the theme, holding the intimacy of relationships with kindness. Whether old friendships or time with those we care in their final days, take a good, long listen and feel the need to hold loved ones more closely. Maybe even find a tear in the corner of your eye. Why? Who knows. This is a song that evokes recollections at a deeply personal level, seemingly without trying or prying.
If “In My Life” is one of The Beatles most-loved songs, there’s every chance that “The Place I Knew” will claim a similar spot in Melanie Crew’s catalogue of compositions. Reflecting on change through reminiscence about places of old, there’s wisdom-tinged nostalgia in the lines: “Isn’t it much too early to tell, shouldn’t we wait a little longer to understand what’s really changed?”
Ebbing and flowing with exquisite pitch and placement, “Out of Sight” is faery-light yet speaks of difficult times. There’s a medieval flavour to the chords, too, supporting a timeless expression of love’s changing rhythms. Once again, Crew places her words with care, leaving interpretation as a gift to the listener. A skill that similarly inhabits the closing track, “Stay All Night”. Is this a song of old romance or new? Either way, the gently woven harmonies demonstrate breathtaking mastery of expression.
Midnight Sounds showcases Melanie Crew’s quintessentially English singer-songwriter style in five superbly shaped tracks. Each with its own narrative, delicately placed, leaving explanation to the listener, this is a work of intelligent musicality that deserves to be heard. Probably several times, too, to pull back the nuance and layering in the themes.
Midnight Sounds is performed by Melanie Crew and Ross Palmer. It was recorded, mixed and produced by Ross Palmer and mastered by Grant Matthews. Get your copy from Melanie Crew’s Bandcamp site here. You can name your price, so make it a good one!
Catch Melanie Crew live on 6 Dec at The White Swan in Charlton, London. Or if you can’t make it, follow her at:
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