Monday, 8 July 2013
New Artist Alert: Lewis Mckale - The Bigger Picture
Introducing Lewis Mckale, an acoustic singer-songwriter from Brighton UK who fell into music as a 'second hobby' behind his first love, acting. Spurred on by a little personal advice from Frank Turner, Mckale's second EP, The Bigger Picture, has recently been released and I've had the chance to take a listen.
The title track of the EP kicks things off, setting the scene with easy-listening acoustic guitar and a Bowie-esque quality to Mckale's vocal. The arrangement is simple but effective; as with the strength of the vocals it's not ground-breaking but it doesn't need to be with this genre. Pleasant and plausible is perfectly acceptable, as Mckale adds a little rhythmic flair before the second chorus to maintain the listener's interest leading into the second half of the track whilst the instrumental section indulges in a little chordal-work on the xylophone/vibraphone-sounding instrument atop the interesting chord progression before introducing a high ostinato on the piano over the final section.
Next up is Those Were The Days which adds a lot more flair and intensity, crucial to holding interest on such an EP, with its 6/8 time signature and the welcome addition of a harmonica. The verses are held down simply with vocals and acoustic guitar whilst we're drip-fed just enough of the harmonica throughout, adding a nice texture to the piece. Track three, Prove You Wrong, picks up the pace a little further whilst returning to the tried-and-tested simplicity of vocals and acoustic guitar. The vocals sound a little strained at times with a few slight-tuning issues but nothing a little auto-tune can't fix (everybody's doing it) and it all adds to the human element of the EP.
Closing the show is (Don't) Forget Who You Are which adds a little more texture with the introduction of a cajon and a some more backing from the piano. The track has a nice driving feel to it, though I do feel Mckale could perhaps try running through a couple of the tracks trying out a capo on a few different frets to find a key he is completely comfortable singing in. There's no doubt the song-writing ability is there, and I feel that with a little tweaking these tracks are going to sound great live.
The Bigger Picture is available now for a free download from Mckale's Bandcamp page, and you can keep up to date with him via his own blog page. Enjoy :)