Thursday, 14 July 2016

'This Changes Everything', by Splendid Fred Records. A REVIEW.

All you readers will probably be familiar with Glenn Fosbraey, one of my Creative Writing lecturers at uni – I have no doubt mentioned him in previous posts, along with the words 'favourite' and 'inspiring'...
Well, this supremely creative guy has a record label set up within the University of Winchester, giving its students the opportunity they might just need to get their work out there and contribute to or begin a backlog for themselves. 


'I wanted to set up a University-specific record label in order to give a platform to the talented songwriters we have at the University, and to create a musical presence within Winchester. Created in July 2015, Splendid Fred Records works in contrast to other labels, for, as well as promoting our artists, we accept submissions from songwriters who don’t perform, and have a team of multi-instrumentalists, vocalists, and producers that are able to take a song and turn it into the finished article.
As well as students on the Creative Writing Module ‘Composing Song Lyrics’, who are consistently producing wonderfully eclectic and experimental music, the number of students that regularly busk, perform as paid acts in local pubs and bars, or participate in open mic nights across the city, means that the material we have on offer is enormous, and varied. The University also intends to launch a brand new Popular Music undergraduate degree in September 2016, where students will study practical, business, and critical aspects of popular music.
As well as offering invaluable opportunities to our musically-inclined students, Splendid Fred offers opportunities for those interested in marketing, multi-media, journalism, finance, and management, meaning that members of the team will graduate equipped with the skills and experience necessary to progress to fulfilling professional careers, entrepreneurial or creative endeavour, postgraduate study, or research.

This is all so wonderful, right? So I obviously asked what the endgame is, as it were, the label's and Glenn Fosbraey's aims...

1. Students from the label team to be engaged in a practical, outward-facing project.
2. The University to cement itself as an innovator in original popular music.

3. Song writers to be given an opportunity to reach wider audiences with their material. 

4. To create a place for original music in the city.

Rather perfect aims. And here are the projects Splendid Fred have done thus far...

The compilation album ‘A list of things I never did’ features a track from every artist currently signed to the label, and can be purchased here:

Our latest release will be an album whose songs focus exclusively on the issue of Climate Change. It is entitled 'This Changes Everything'. Available right here

Back to Gracie! I was given the opportunity to listen to this new release by the label. Basically, I was floored. Not that you should totally trust my opinion when it comes to songwriting (I wouldn't let myself take the Songwriting module at uni as I am so totally atrocious and clueless it may have cost me my overall grade...) but I know a good sound and a real voice. These various artists, and this label, have that. 

Time for a little breakdown of the album, track by track...
'Seattle' is a gentle delight, almost Southern sounding – but like a lot of the tracks on this album, listening closely to the lyrics chills you to the bone. Black hearts with disfigured skin/and the anger of youth/become teeth of civilisation/devouring roots, whoa.
'King of Horror' gets your head nodding, for several reasons. The infectious beat, and the important messages. Dead sharks/for everything is finite/they can't swim/once they've lost their appetite.
'Lost', sung in tasty female vocals, is realisation and heartache and a call to arms. And as I look up at the broken sky, with open eyes at last, I see damage now as clear as day/Hear me when I say we can't afford to look away/any more.
'Some Day' is my personal favourite. It's so light-hearted, hilariously so, stooped in denial but also horrendously sad...how does that work!? Our arrogance and haste may cause our deaths, but who's to blame?
'The Road' is bewitching, a frighteningly happy marriage of voices; Go on and on this road go on and on this road, From hills of fire, 'We are the good guys'.
'Revelation (Part 1)' is another bittersweet one, with biblical tones: I can't complain, nor will I repent, for I am the master of my own death. It's brother, 'Revelation (Part 2)' ditches the religion somewhat and tells of a country, a world, falling apart and our choice to prosper. Pass it on mothers to sons: we write the songs, taste the guilt and speak no more.
'Horizon' has a rock vibe, and an angry pace. As the Dali llama drew his last breath the terrible monkey gods laughed in their suits and ties as they were damned.
'Breed''s lyrics, sung so sweetly, voice my main concerns about the future: I don't wanna have kids if they'll end up in this, and then excites me a little later on: I am gonna have kids, just to prove I existed, I am gonna have kids irrespective of this mess.
'Waves' at first reminded me of those punk bands I listened to when I was a teen, and the deep hurt in their biggest hits, the lyrics echoing in my mind; I won't take the world from you/even if you asked me to/it's not too late to learn the truth/yet truth is just a point of view.
'Everything Ends' had me hooked from the first line: There's a fire in the fields and the moon is a scar. Pretty yummy, right?! And the song itself is a feisty fitting end for a powerful album.

The Django Black ensemble, and Hannah Jacobs, were perfect for these songs. They brought life to the ingenious, hard-hitting, words. 


Please note that I was given this album and information personally, but this in no way sways my opinion of the music or liking of the endeavours. They're honestly awesome. 

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