Having already introduced him to you, and showed how lovely he is to speak to, it is with great excitement that we review Al Lewis’ second English language album, ‘Battles’. Opening with the track The Truth In Growing Old, you automatically get the feeling that this album is about someone who is reflectedly looking back …
Having already introduced him to you, and showed how lovely he is to speak to, it is with great excitement that we review Al Lewis’ second English language album, ‘Battles’.
Opening with the track The Truth In Growing Old, you automatically get the feeling that this album is about someone who is reflectedly looking back on their life and loves. A beautiful, yet surprisingly cheerful, look at aging, you can tell what the theme of the album is by the line, ‘loved ones come and go, that’s the truth in growing old’. What follows is a collection of songs that all have a similar, seventies-rock feel, but from an acoustic angle. The fact that it was recorded in a studio in Nashville, in the US, hints at the style of music that this album represents.
Sunshine is our favourite song of the album, as it is cheerfully optimistic and manages to fuse some emotive cello along with the more stereotypical singer-songwriter sounds. This is reflected in the almost jarring backing vocalsprovided by Sarah Howells of Paper Aeroplanes. The bridge catches you beautifully, with the synthetic harpsichord and sudden dramatic change in style. We loved the vocals for Don’t Believe in Magic, as they are hugely similar to the vocals in Scissor Sisters’ Land of a Thousand Words, released on their first album. This song, however, is a lot lighter and airy than the sisters’, but even Jake Shears would marvel at the nature of this track. The cello intro for Happy Now reminds us of the Galaxy chocolate adverts, but the track as a whole screams of pain and heartbreak with notes of acceptance of the sad chain of events that led to the end of the relationship mentioned in the lyrics. The song that closes the album and also it’s namesake, Battles, is a song that describes that point where you have to pick yourself up and carry on after being thrown to the ground.
This album feels like a film, and could probably be used as the soundtrack to one. It would probably be a romance one too. The only damaging thing is the genre – most people are all too easily swayed that singer-songwriters or folk artists in general should be left to one side and ignored. It is in this case that Al Lewis should be sought out – he has a different stance, a beautiful voice and a twist on an old concept that we are sure will grow and change into something even bigger and better than before.