S J Denney should be in your playlists for every mood by now, and if you don’t know who he is- get ready for a great introduction. Essex based singer-songwriter S J Denney was inspired by the Beatles & Neil Young, so that should already give you a hint about the style of music he creates.
His new EP is called Beneath the Skin EP, and has mesmerizing tracks that speak to the soul. He uses minimal fabricated environments embellished with reverbs and captivating vocals with profound lyrics. He has used his technical prowess flawlessly to get the desired effect in the songs.
What is Beneath the Skin
The opener is called Slow Burn(er), well intentioned and meta in every way. The track is a slow burn, using a phantom aura of guitars that seem to suspend through seconds to create a resounding background. S J Denney delivers post-Genesis style Phil Collins vocals, driving the lyrics home and hitting notes perfectly. It does exactly what Denney desired, setting a premise for the kind of album it is going to be. A very strong song with a powerful message.
Slide guitar is king in the next track Out of Harm’s Way. It has a similar vibe to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young songs, and activates a magic carpet effect that transcends through your medium for music. It helps you appreciate the effort that S J Denney has taken to carve out such fantastic melodies. Beautiful song.
The Sticking Point is a catalyst for transportation as Denney traverses to the mystical world of Hindustani music. Using mandala drums/tablas for the background beat, Denney sings about the sticking point- a pivotal track for a moment in his life, as well as the album. Sitar flourishes and miniature solos really instill the effect, while the dynamic beat is an effervescent focus.
Switching between vibes
The penultimate song is called Tuesday’s Child, which carries itself with a vibe of its own. It is spaced out effectively, focusing on the vocals and smooth strums of the guitar with a hint of phaser. The flourishes are then given the volume required to shine, while Denney sings in his signature Phil Collins vocal quality. Each element knows when to slide to the background, creating a rich mélange of layers that are displayed as a collage.
Stripping to the bare minimum, S J Denney delivers a heartfelt closer. It is called Burn Slow(er), and has only what it requires to facilitate the message that must be delivered. Acoustic glides through the track while a suppressed trumpet adds to the morose depth of the track.
S J Denney has managed to craft a simple yet effective album, chock-full of good tracks, great vibes, and surreal messages. He pushes the boundaries of what a solo-songwriter and musician can do, and has changed up his game since his last EP from 2019, Forgotten Friends.
Definitely collapse into the beautiful synthesis of Beneath The Skin EP: