Scene and Heard – CCCXLI : Son – New Sky (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

photoHow do you make music that is at once soul searching yet accessible, reflective yet anything but melancholic, poignant yet marked for popularity, enigmatic yet infectious? I bet New Sky has at least some of the answers but then they are hardly likely to give away their secrets . For Son is just such a song, it is all those things and more. It is a song that delivers a wonderfully intimate narrative but one that is also a universal and relatable message about what it is to be a man, a gentleman, a decent person…a human being. Morality, ethics, character after all is just about common sense and honesty, you don’t need a politician or a religious leader to tell you what the right thing is and it is such a message that sits at the heart of Son.

It runs along a soulful groove but you wouldn’t call it a Soul song in the generic sense, similarly it is bluesy but not blues, it is built with an integrity and solidity that few rock songs have and is addictive in a way that your average throwaway pop song could only dream of. Do we need a new genre or should we just accept that the best music doesn’t need such artificial and largely journalistic devices? I vote for the latter.

It is the sound of basement soul gatherings blending into back street Chicago jazz clubs which in turn become the sound of illicit blues parties and underground gigs. It is the sound of an alternative, underground path that music took when it should have become the mainstream. It is the sound of a midnight ritual designed to re-animate the zombie corpse of the muse of music that mattered, still matters and will continue to matter, long after the current boy band wannabes have returned to a day job where the main concern is asking the customer if they want fries with that!

What is so great about Son, the real underlying charm it effortlessly exudes, is how wonderfully loose it feels, how relaxed and conversational  whilst being anything but sloppy. And that is the art of such music. Get things too together and it sounds like an uptight recital, too loose and you sound amateur and unprepared. But get the sweet spot and you sound both professional and chilled, competent to the point of relaxed. It goes without saying that here the New SKY hits the sweet spot dead centre.

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