Rising Sun is the latest full-length release from Lancashire Lads, and it fuses together genres which on paper, would not work together. There are elements of jazz and folk combined with new wave and organic pop, resulting in a hybrid of all of these, which is distinctive, ambitious and original.
Vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jolli Holli leads the show, and his vocal delivery is consistent throughout, lending itself naturally to every phrase regardless of the arrangement, tempo or genre. The words roll off his tongue so naturally and so effortlessly that any concerns about defining genre or style are rendered irrelevant. Who needs to pigeon hole artistry, anyway?
Holli is also responsible for guitar, bass and keyboards, all of which play a prominent role in the overall ambience of Rising Sun. By Holli’s side are a fine set of musicians; Andy on drums, Richard on Strings, and Steve on brass. Production comes courtesy of Alan Gregson who has mixed everything with precision, while also adding the occasional vocal harmony into the mix. The strings and brass add a further depth and quality to the songs, and give the lads the opportunity to build rich, textured arrangements (“History,” “Rising Sun”).
Rising Sun is a very warm album. Holli’s voice is soothing and he delivers his performances with an understated confidence. The combination of organic instrumentation and synthesized elements are very welcome, and are done with just the right amount of moderation. Even with the use of the occasional synth, Rising Sun never loses its organic roots, and is without doubt, a well-rounded collection, written with a clear vision and performed with true musicianship.
With Rising Sun, Lancashire Lads have crafted an album influenced by many, yet retains its originality and individuality. There are so many different genres and eras thrown into the mix that it is near impossible to confine it to any single genre, or sub genre for that matter. However, fans of Duran Duran, Roxy Music, Spandau Ballet and even David Bowie are sure to find plenty to enjoy here.
Title: Rising Sun
Review by Ross Barber
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)