BACK TO THE FUTURE
25 years after his ‘divorce’ from the music business and liberation from the artistic constraints and control exerted by record companies, Eddie Macdonald feels now is the perfect time to get back to the grassroots of writing new classics and creating inspiring music.
Despite international success with The Alarm, and key reference points including U2, Queen, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, with whom the band shared tours, Macdonald feels driven to usher in a refreshing form of sonic expression relevant for a new age of musical freedom.
The result; a compelling, heartfelt and soulwrenching collection of tracks recorded under the guise of his new musical incarnation, Smalltown Glory. Entitled ‘The Tenement Commandments’ the former songwriter and bottom-end musical component of the afore mentioned 80’s legends has not so much rediscovered his mojo he’s simply unleashed it, and to great effect.
The road to sonic perfection After securing the songwriting, guitar and vocal talents of Paul Evans, the two collaborated to craft songs originally demoed by Macdonald in the summer of 2014, along with newly composed material by both writers. Guitar riffs, lyrics, melodies and arrangements flowed to perfect the sound and style of this new writing and recording partnership, which intentionally distanced Macdonald from his musical past.
And so to the music and newly released EP.
High, High, High stands out as an obvious single choice with its signature riff and overturial strings infused with multi-layered Gibson acoustic and Rickenbacker electric guitars. With lavish BVs and extravagant production, it’s big and bold. Vacuous lyrical offerings present in so much of today’s music surrender to ‘High’s’ imaginative and novel storyboard about emerging from a near death experience to appreciate all that’s wonderful about life. Get high on this!
The band’s namesake is next up. The understated acoustic intro belies what’s to come as power guitars take the wheel and drive Smalltown Glory full throttle to a new sonic level. A rootsy story about never losing sight of your origins or being bedazzled by the big city is the sentiment, carried along on a gutsy kaleidoscopic guitar fest that inspires a genuine reaction from the listener.
Everyday serves up something altogether lighter. The notion of reflecting upon halcyon days, carefree summers and youth are set against a sonic backdrop that shoots the breeze with innovative BV’s, bundles of guitar signatures and a stand-out acoustic solo. It’ll make you close your eyes and remember days spent with friends, young love and morning-after teenage hazes at a time when anything and everything was possible.
Can’t Stop The Waterfall deals with the inevitability of passing time and the reality that it can’t be stopped or prevented. But, as the song suggests, you must take advantage of every moment and live life to the full. Never let others write you off, don’t write yourself off or feel the best is behind you. Make now the best moment you’ve ever had! With twangy melodic forces at play spanning the music, lyrical and vocal dynamic, ‘Waterfall’s’ is a rousing tour de force that pumps you up and gets your feet tapping in agreement.
Closing the EP is a paired down acoustic ballad that’s an unexpected but very welcome contrast in this debut collection. With McCartneyesque syncopated guitars, Fly Away is reminiscent of The White Album's Julia cum Blackbird whilst stitching it’s own narrative into this acoustic tapestry. A tale of how life takes on new meaning with family, nurturing the young and wanting your children to fulfil their potential as they fly the nest, Fly Away nestles in an acoustic pillow with enhancements by Macdonald that ensure this track sits very comfortably alongside its multi-layered stablemates.
JOIN THE REVOLUTION
Macdonald’s revered songwriting, that spawned many a hit for The Alarm, imposes itself on this debut EP with catchy riffs and melodies abound. But it’s new, fresh and dynamic too. He means it and is very much back in business!
Evans’s distinctive vocal and playing style, lyrical musings and own songwriting techniques clearly influence and shape STG’s sound and songbook. Along with bass impresario and the deep toned vocals of Charlie Fowler, a new sound is emerging that’s capturing hearts and souls and defining a new audience for the band.
Smalltown Glory is both new and old; a progressive sonic experience that’s fresh and contemporary whilst nodding back to a golden age of song craftsmanship rarely found in much of today’s musical manufacturings. For once, STG is a victory of music over marketing when so often it’s the other way around.
Listen, enjoy and be moved by this exciting debut EP. Tenement Commandments is available in CD and download formats.