This is a review of "Sun Son EP" recorded by Sol Gravy. The review was written by Jessica Thornsby in 2008.
The meandering acoustic guitar and hazy vocals of opener ‘Remember Me (Summer Gone)’ would make for a pleasantly undemanding ballad, if it wasn’t for one seriously misplaced harmonica. What it’s doing bleating all over this otherwise subtle song is anyone’s guess. While initially, it does lend character and keeps ‘Remember Me…’ ticking over, it gets more prominent as the song progresses, and you’ll hardly notice the finishing twists and turns because of it. ‘Remember Me…’ begins like a heady, summery ballad and ends up prickling with sharp edges that are so out of place, they’ll have you wincing.
‘Liar Liar’ is more coherent, and the rattling acoustic guitar that acts as its cornerstone, ensures this song is always jangling with energy. A handful of atmospheric synths give this acoustic number some variety and Sol’s voice has more than enough character to keep things interesting. However, at under three minutes, ‘Liar Liar’ does feel like it’s over before it’s built up momentum, and you might be left wondering just what the point was.
‘For The Flow’ is another laidback acoustic number. Although we’ve heard this sort of thing from Sol before, ‘For The Flow’ does showcase his ability to make even the most awkward lyric sound natural, and the stripped-down arrangement proves his voice can withstand even the fiercest of scrutiny. However, ‘For The Flow’ is ultimately lacking any hook or emotional core that’ll get the listener involved. It may be crammed with sublimely beautiful acoustics and easy-on-the-ear melodies, but you’ll drift along on ‘For The Flow’s surface, and never really get caught up in it.
‘Autumn Chile’ is a burst of ethnically-influenced alt-folk with eerie, campfire-singalong vocals. Refreshingly, it feels like it’s grown naturally out of this EP’s more conventional tracks, rather than being a forced, arty experiment. However, at one-and-a-half-minutes long, it’s difficult to see why Sol didn’t take this intriguing interlude and expand it into a more rounded song, because there are plenty of ideas here to work with.
Length isn’t an issue with the eight-minute epic of ‘I Am The One.’ This is a song that’s had some serious time spent on it, as subtle vocal echoes and flourishes of distortion combine to deliver some quietly unsettling moments. However, as with the rest of this EP, ‘I Am The One’s finest moments are nuances of sound rather than obvious hooks. ‘I Am The One’ requires your undivided attention if you’re going to get anything out of it.
Sol signs off with possibly his most sedate offering, ‘For A Girl’ which is, again, all acoustic guitar and ethereal vocals but, after five songs of similar material, it’s difficult to give ‘For A Girl’ the attention it probably deserves.
Perhaps, if this EP wasn’t played out all at the same level, it would be easier to appreciate its more subtle moments. The major problem is that ‘Sun Son’ is so understated that you have to give it 100% of your attention at all times, and while there’s nothing wrong with music that challenges, ‘Sun Son’ is one strictly for those who enjoy working hard at enjoying their music.