Published on 17th January 2019
The Emerald Dawn – Nocturne
This is the first album released this year that I have listened to for review purposes, and the beauty of it is, it’s not even out yet, so I know what an impact it will make.
This is the St. Ives based band’s third album, following on from 2017’s highly acclaimed Visions, and see’s the recorded debut of new bass player David Greenaway, who joined them back in Spring 2018.
Five tracks, 51 minutes of music, you can tell that this is going to be epic song writing at its finest, and then you listen to it.
Well, I say ‘listen’ to it, to do this album justice you need to immerse yourself in it, and let it take you away. It’s one of those albums that fully rewards a complete listen, you can’t dip in and out of this as, very much like jumping into a swimming pool, once you’re in you’re in.
This is an album that grows with repeated listening and each track is full of subtle nuances and riffs and lines that are teased out as you delve deeper into it.
From the cover, to the titles, you can tell that this is themed around the night, and what better time to be listening to it, than the dark Winter months, where the light of dusk is that harsh, cold unforgiving light, where everything seems sharper, harsher, colder.
It adds warmth and blurs the lines between twilight and darkness, as you get taken away by it.
The confidence in the band is immense, and if you’ve heard their previous albums you’ll already know what incredibly talented musicians they are. The way Ally Carter’s guitar sings and interweaves with Tree Stewart’s keyboards is a glorious sound to behold, and it’s the way they build textures using the drum and bass combo of Greenaway and Tom Jackson, particularly effective on the multi-textured and genre crossing In the Dead of the Night.
In the Dead of the Night has a bluesy slow swing to it, the bass work of Greenaway in the middle section gives it a real cool smoky low sound, the vocal duets between Carter and Stewart are sublime, and with some wonderfully soulful sax work from Carter, the composition adds the right blend of the sinister and the mysterious to what is a wonderful piece of music.
The way the album flows is superbly crafted, two epic instrumentals to open the album, which means we’re about 20 minutes in before Tree’s vocals even kick in, the fluid guitar work by Carter, Tree’s keyboards adding so much atmosphere, and a late night vibe throughout, although, like the night, there are little nods to things out there in the darkness, with plenty more going on besides. This is articulate, intelligently crafted and performed to perfection.
The closing The Child Within is as symphonic and epic as the rest of the album, with some more of those lush synth sounds that Tree excels at, whilst her beautiful vocals and emotive lyrics are a tour de force on this song.
The way the whole band go about crafting their songs, giving them space and room to grow and develop, all the while layering lush guitar sounds, sublime keyboard work, drums and bass, all building to deliver some seriously impressive songs.
This is a particularly powerful and striking album that shows a band who know exactly what they’re doing, have the musical chops and song writing skills to pull it off with aplomb and have originality in abundance to do their own thing.
I was incredibly impressed by 2017’s Visions, and listening to Nocturne, this is the album that should get them the attention they deserve.
I can’t fault it, not one bit, everything works – and works to perfection. This is a sheer delight to listen to, one of those albums that gets inside your soul and is one that you will keep with you for life.
I love this album.
01. Prologue (0:30)
02. As Darkness Falls (10:44)
03. Moonlight (8:33)
– i. The Dancer, including The Entrance of The Demon
– ii. The Dance of The Demon
– iii. The Dancer and The Demon
04. In the Dead of the Night (10:43)
05. The Child Within (20:45)
Total Time – 51:05
Tree Stewart – Keyboards, Vocals
Ally Carter – Electric Guitar, Tenor Saxophone, Guitar Synthesiser, Vocals
David Greenaway – 4-string Fretless & 6-string Fretted Bass Guitars
Tom Jackson – Drums
Record Label: Worlds End Records
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 1st February 2019