This is Tensheds 6th album in 10 years, Tensheds is the solo project of Matt Millership a very talented pianist who studied at the Royal Scottish Academy Of Music before going on to carve out a career as a busy touring musician playing with or opening for among others Hazel O'Connor, Jim Jones & the Righteous Mind, John Mayall and Roger Chapman.
Having been forced home by lockdown Matt was challenged during his first Livestream by one of his fans to write a new song for the next livestream a week later, well Matt took up the challenge and extended it to writing a song a week for the 11 weeks of lockdown that he then played all the instruments and did all the recording and engineering before handing the tapes over to Jez Leather (Johnny Cola & The A-Grades) to mix the album at the Dynamite Jet saloon..
From the opening notes of Ticking Clocks it's clear that the piano will be central and no matter how the sparse percussion and bass add to it this is all about that fabulous piano tone and sound and Matt Millership's bruised and burnished vocals sitting in a room alone pouring out his thoughts at being confined in lockdown with just a grand piano and a few other instruments for company.
The Bridge Song has a mellifluous flow to the gentle neo-classical piano flourishes that emphasize the lyrics of despair at the loneliness of being in lockdown.
Mirrors has a similar feel to the piano to John Cale's soundtrack to Andy Warhol's Kiss to begin with before it builds and falls like our moods during lockdown as normal life disappears and everything falls to pieces the bass notes seem to tremble with that sense of foreboding that normality might never return.
Cotton Wool World has a dramatic classical intro that is influenced by Rachmaninoff as the poetic lyrics unfold as we wonder how wrapped in Cotton Wool some people are while everyone else has been thrown to the Covid wolves, this is tremulous and rather emotional.
Hell Is In The Water is one of the tracks with far more instrumentation on it the guitar playing against the piano that has a similar feel to Professor Longhair playing the Grand Piano. This has a sort of New Orleans feel to it but shot through with all sorts of other things and full of emotion.
Into The Light almost sounds like it should be heard just as dawn breaks and the odd shard of light comes into the room and has a small chink of light shows things might start to improve.
The English Way has enough tongue in cheek insouciance to almost sound a bit like a Richard Stilgoe parody and it has a bit of a music hall feel to the piano that strays into a sort of rolling blues feel in places.
Girl I'm Sorry is a sparse apology for the difficulty of trying to be there for someone in the midst of all this trauma and pain and the heartbreak brought about by separation.
Half Of A Heart builds from an ambient drone with slow careful piano as this tale of heartbreak and sadness slowly unfurls as it tugs on our heartstrings.
Let The Tear Cry feels like heartbreak and despair set to a beautiful piano figure that keeps going round like the tears falling from your eyes. The gentle fade out is stunningly beautiful.
The one cover on the album is A Girls Tears that was written by Boleslaw "Bollo" Ilnicki while he was confined in Hairmyres Hospital in Lanarkshire in 1940 about his nurse Jean Johnstone and is full of sadness that her shift is ending, and he will be without her until she returns another day to care for him once more. This is a wonderful song choice and amazing discovery of a long-lost song it is a wonderful way to close a stunning album.
Find out more at http://www.tensheds.com/ https://www.facebook.com/Tensheds