Independent outlook /// Neil McSweeney ‘The Seventeen’ [EP] 2013

Neil McSweeney

Sheffield singer/songwriter Neil McSweeney is best known for his divine ballads touched by nostalgic melancholy. Having worked with some prominent representatives of the folk scene in the UK, Neil has established himself as a performer to watch out for. Following his sophomore full-length ‘Shoreline’ in 2009, Neil presents his newest four-track EP ‘The Seventeen’ prior to the release of the third studio album ‘Cargo’ in September.

Despite being an in-between-releases EP, ‘The Seventeen’ is very much a record of its own, than simply a taste of things to come from the singer’s next album. Four beautiful stripped back tracks are as likely to put you into reflecting, relaxed mood, as a long walk by a lake in the English countryside. The effect will double if you combine the music and the walk though, as Neil’s songs full of serenity make a perfect soundtrack for a good-for-soul leisure.

The opener ‘We Are Here’ bustles with assertive spirit, highlighting the lyrical theme centred around desire to leave a mark in this world. This confidence and perseverance find reflection in firm, steady chords, backing the intention confidently. This is an atypical Neil’s song, but then in steps ‘In A Dream’ and brings a total mood change. Dedicated to Neil’s younger son, the track is a heart-felt, tender offering where every touch of the guitar strings shines with love and deepest, most sincere feelings. Neil’s own version of the track ‘To Live Is To Fly’ originally released by Townes Van Zant, is a slow-burner, but full of life fervour – light and appealing to the ear. The EP closer ‘The Seventeen’ is a metaphorical story and a return to summer mood clad in a delicate, transparent garment.

‘The Seventeen’ perfectly combines happy and brooding songs, but carrying beauty and sincerity in each line they won’t allow you to feel depressed. There’s a natural spirit in the EP – the one that attributes to a listening experience on a very personal, inner level. ‘The Seventeen’ is dynamic and lyrical, elevating and melancholic, but no matter what sides it shows to you, this EP is a fine example of elegantly and beautifully crafted music.

You can buy the EP here.

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