This is a review of "Fade So Simple" recorded by Redwood Thinkers. The review was written by Tim Hoadley in 2011.
Sometimes albums are written that grab your attention purely by the method in which they were conceived.
Earlier this year Leeds five-piece Redwood Thinkers audaciously appealed to fans to donate what finances they could to help support the making and recording of a record. (Personally I would have sold the band's Cello, but then this may be why I tend not to get invited to join people's bands...)
As a result of this request however, fan's lives and life stories began to infiltrate the band's consciousness and much material transposed itself into songs and then onto the actual album itself.
A risky concept but one that appears to have worked incredibly well for Redwood Thinkers, as they have produced an unwavering collection of varied, beautifully accomplished songs.
The album kicks off with "Someone like me", a melodic, statuesque Fleetwood Mac number, that is a lyrically catchy as it is musically. It is an incredibly strong opening track, a song that after a fair few listens of this album, I think perfectly captures what this band are about.
After such a solid opening, it's easy to be disappointed by the following track "This Feeling". However Kezia Roberts' beautifully strong and appropriate voice, rescues a track that threatens to deliver so much more but never quite manages it. It is her voice that you will notice more and more as you journey through this collection. It soars above the music with an effortless grace that demonstrates perfectly what singing should really sound like.
But with three of the band sharing vocal duties, "Fade So Simple" manages to create a number of different aural layers for the listener. Further into your journey you will encounter fierce, accusatory vocals from the male section. A harsh flipside to the soft inviting harmonies you have already become accustomed to. But at no point do you feel out of place. These songs, although diverse, belong with each other and hold the concept together throughout.
There are some genuinely touching moments in this in this album. "Burnt" is Damian Rice at his eye-welling best and contains one of the most beautiful vocal outros I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. "No one looks happy in cars" is not my favourite lyrically, but is an absolute highlight of the album nevertheless. Kezia's vocal shines through yet again, but in particular this track showcases the band's immense musical talent.
This is a collection that deserves to be heard. Whilst being relatively easy-listening, it stands out from the middle of the road. The band's vocal and song writing quality are a joy and this album is going to stay with me a long time after this review is complete.