3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2006
The Essex Green have provided one of the pop highlights of 2006 with this gem. It is clear from the start this isn't an album to push boundaries and the various songs have throwbacks to typical soft rock, country, folk and indie stylings. But it is this mixture of influences that proves the albums championing factors - despite operating with heavy derivation, the album's songs jump about so much that the overall picture still feels fresh and interesting.
"Don't Know Why (You Stay)" is the sort of catchy power pop bouncer that will get anyone immediately into the swing of things. But once such a musical sugar-rush has warn off some of the other songs hold strong. Take "Penny & Jack" (I know, the title sounds like soft rock at its worst) yet the melodies are so great you can't help but love it, with the male-female dynamic performed to a tee - this has all been done before, but rarely this well.
Vocal-wise, Sasha Bell and Christopher Zeller provide endlessly listenable performances in equal sharing. "Rue De Lis" is one of the best laid back summer songs I have heard in years as Zeller provides the sort of soft male vocal that most artists either shun through an inherent lack of subtelty or end up overdoing (no offence Belle and Sebastian, but sometimes you can be a little TOO cutesy!) - he captures the gentle side of manliness superbly (in a Cat Stevens sort of way I suppose). Equally there's a certain empassioned quality to Sasha Bell as she storms through catchy number "Elsinore", and it's where the empowered female meets the softer male that suddenly things get all ear-meltingly gorgeous as on something like "Sin City".
Sometimes a really well done soft-rock album can still be worthwhile, and this is just such an album. Of course the charge of lacking inventiveness could be aimed at The Essex Green but when music's this enjoyable to listen to, I'm hardly the one to do it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2006
Last year it was Hal and The Magic Numbers, this year it might be the Essex Green that provides the backdrop to my summer.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable album, breezing along with sharp jangly pop tunes, tinged with folk and the whiff of 1960's that made the Magic Numbers such fun. Male and female vocalists alternate and the odd track even has the feel of early 10,000 Maniacs.
Not a classic, but the sort of album that you'll find again in a few years and play with a big grin.
on 27 May 2007
Sasha Bell's voice is quite distinctive and she's obviously a good singer. The music is quite groovy - oh, yes - accessible, some right nice tunes ... I'm not damning it with faint praise by saying it's a nice album. If you like Camera Obscura you might like the Essex Green. Stand out tracks: Snakes In The Grass and Uniform on which they do sound a bit like Steeleye Span or something. Or something.
on 7 December 2012
There were 2 that were the soundtrack to the Summer this year, Cannibal Sea and Clutching Stems
I'm a sucker for guitar pop with great tunes, and this is one of the best examples you'll find from recent years.
And at this price you really can't lose