Small Wonders is the fourth album by Glasgow's Starry Skies and has no connection to Walthamstow that I could find sadly, as a tribute to Small Wonder records would be quite welcome. This album is more than welcome, being full of uplifting music and no matter how dark the times may be Starry Skies are here to make the world a better happier place while asking questions of how to make that happen.
They certainly wanted me to hear the album as I was sent it by both the UK and US PR companies. Starry Skies revolve around Warren McIntyre with Heather Phillips, Sophie Pragnall, Jenny Lunan, Adam Scott and John Rooney. The album was produced by Matt Harvey at Maybank Studios and mastered at Abbey Road by Frank Arkwright.
The album opens with Smile Through The Dark a plaintive acoustic folk song that's looking for inspiration from within as a way to find our way out of the darkness and to get out into the shining light as they move out of the bad situation they find themselves in and find a way forwards.
Spitfire Susie is a good slice of fast paced indie-pop about Susie Ross one of the female mechanics who repaired Spitfires in World War 2 who went on to become a schoolteacher who Warren became friends with. This is a good tribute wrapped up in catchy tune.
Highwater Eagle is a folk tale story song about the lies told about the founding of America and what happened to the population who lived there before the invasion from Europe. This comes from the standpoint of a native American woman trying to spread the truth, with some luscious strings to make you think and investigate the truth. The band contacted the Native American Indian Association for approval of the lyrics and there president A'lice Myers gave it there stamp of approval.
Light In Your Soul opens acapella with some finger clicks before slowly building with the female backing vocals adding some texture to a song about trying to see the light in your soul rather than all the darkness and pain that you can wash away with the help of the organ that comes in eventually.
Kind Hearted People has a gentle fey pop feel with a countrified feel to the music making it sound a bit like the Redlands Palomino Company especially when the guitar solo kicks in, this is rather catchy and ought to be getting decent daytime radio plays, as we should all salute the Kind Hearted people around us, and hopefully ourselves for being Kind Hearted too.
Natural Way is a slow song about how the hierarchies we live within are the natural way of things while sound a bit like The Last One Standing by Australian Blonde (With Steve Wynn), while be a lot lighter but sharing some sentiments.
I Don't Wanna Be That Kinda Guy is the most electrified rocking tune on the album and is about not wanting to join a gang in South Glasgow growing up, as the guitars wail, he's in search of love rather than hate and pain.
Iris In The Underground is a rather pretty dreamy pop song with a nicely complex story unfolding amid the lush music that sounds nothing like the sounds of the underground the violins don't screech like the wheels going round a bend, almost touching into Tindersticks territory but with lighter easy to comprehend vocals.
I Was Lost is a song of redemption for someone in recovery who's doing a lot better than he once was while sounding like it was strummed and played late one evening in a candlelit studio at the end of the day as he recounts some of the things he's seen on the city streets.
The album closes with On The Beach that is not Neil Young influenced, this is a slow piano led song for someone taking a long slow walk alone down a beach trying to figure things out.
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