Self Issued (label)
29 June 2013 (released)
02 June 2013
One of the pleasures of this reviewing game is that I occasionally get to discover artists that have huge talent but that otherwise tend to fly under the radar of the mainstream. Adrian Roye and the Exiles are one of those and it is wonderful to finally have their first full length CD in my mitts.
I first discovered the band as a support to the wonderful Nell Bryden and I was taken by the purity of Adrian’s voice set against some superb cello playing from Simon Lewis, understated but brilliantly fluid bass playing from Beth Dariti and Dean Paton’s quiet drumming and percussion. I have been listening regularly to their first EP and have caught them live a few times and watched their music developing along with their fan base. They seem to epitomise the modern way of developing a band on its own terms rather than following the usual ‘business’ methodology.
As to the album; ‘Reclaimed’ is a quiet masterpiece.
The music is an amalgam of all the different characteristics of the band and their harmonies and heartfelt playing are something to stir the heart. The interplay of the different musicians is complex but each has their own space and the production is clean enough that there is no point at wwhich you can’t pick out a strand or an individual player and enjoy them in their own right but when you aurally step out and let the track hit you as a piece there is a wonderful sense of togetherness.
The tracks all have a band feel – with a voice as striking as Adrian’s and that cello it would hardly be any other way – but there is no sameness to the songs.
The sombre beauty of ‘Plastic Bag Goldfish’ with Beth’s mandolin set against Simon’s cello has a constancy to it that carries you into the album with a smile and inner warmth. The Calling’ has the same warmth and is adorned by Michael Chorney’s lap steel and lovely harmonies between Adrian & Beth.
‘Cold War’ is a number they have been developing live for quite a while and the 4 part harmonies are simply delicious set over Simon’s cello and lovely cymbal work from Dan.
‘Fear Of Phantoms’ has a reggae bassline from Beth and Adrian’s best vocal performance on the album along with Simon delivering some fine guitar lines.
‘Pebbles & Stones’ is ‘just’ a lovely singer/songwritery love song that only shows the complexity after the track has finished and you are still trying to work it out.
Adrian Roye has a wonderful voice and on ‘Where Are The Roses’ he hits a brilliantly plaintive note – another number they have been doing live for a while and tears at the heartstrings brilliantly.
The closer, ‘I Claim You’, seems to sum up everything that the band do best – heartfelt lyrics, soft and quietly beautiful playing and great harmonies.
I don’t claim to come at this review from a position of cold independence as I am an unashamed fan of the band but the quality of the album surprised even me. There are enough tiny imperfections to make it clear that this is an album by real people making music from the heart but at the end I simply wanted to go back and do it all over again.
In a world where everyone wants segmentation and ‘marketability’ it is essential that we have bands that have their own way and will – these guys should be a national treasure – cherish them.
The band are playing a special launch gig at London's Borderline on 13th June go to the Facebook page -
https://www.facebook.com/adrianroyeandtheexiles?fref=ts - for details