The best part about [email protected]’s debut album is that the songs grow on you with repeated listenings. ‘Which Way Now?’ is lighthearted, simple to listen to, and conjures up joyful images. The melodies are really well-matched to the writing, which elicits the appropriate emotions as you listen to the album.
[email protected] was formed when songwriter Chris Horrell (CH), a Sussex resident decided, at the age of 61, that it was time to dust off his guitar and write his first album. He wrote the 12 beautiful pieces while under lockdown. When Chris realised he wouldn’t be ready to fulfil the desired vocal performance for the songs, he opted to collaborate with Sarah Elizabeth (SE), a vocalist who enhanced the songs’ charm.
I’m wowed by each song’s concept, and I’m eager to learn more about where they came from. ‘Which Way Now?’ sounds joyful from the first track onwards, yet the concepts are profound but presented with such simple phrases. ‘Let me go’ has a borderless and unfettered tone, which is also represented well in the arrangement. As I previously stated, the concepts were extremely clear, which is something we most likely acquire via experiences. Deep bottom, it’s a fantastic resource for aspiring songwriters. The tunes are well-balanced, and the spaces are well-respected. The song ‘One More Time’ is perhaps the most relaxed and breezy; I will surely return to it and will remain with it for quite some time. The lovely combination of acoustic strum and electric guitar counter fills transports you to another world. ‘Second Time Around’ follows a similar route, but with more piano fills and excellent harmonies, making it more enticing. The songwriting was more visually appealing this time.
When ‘No Way Back’ begins, I go back and listen to the intro once again. It was absolutely amazing writing. The soundscape transports me back to the 1980s. It’s kept full and lively with the inclusion of electric guitar fills. The strong kick and snare sounds open ‘Twenty Seconds’. The writing is flawless, and the vocal delivery is consistently excellent throughout the song. ‘Brand New,’ the next tune, has a subtle touch of vintage jazz. It’s a startling shift. The Piano’s whimsical character, as well as the entire arrangement, appealed to me. The movements are smooth and carried out in compliance with the song’s prerequisites. As the song develops, ‘Don’t Forget About Me’ improves, and by the time the guitar solo arrives, you’ve been completely absorbed by the song’s atmosphere.
I believe the Violin Counterpoints in the next track, ‘You’ve Changed,’ are very effective, and something that ties into the tale and is portrayed as a character alongside Sarah’s strong voice. Even if you’re on a fun ride, it slows you down and helps you reflect on yourself. With the intro of the title track, ‘Which Way Now?,’ the tone transforms swiftly. The guitar’s distorted tone resonated to me so much. It’s a welcome change of pace in the soundtrack. Amidst this, the excellent songwriting remains consistent. In my opinion, ‘Come My Way’ contains some alternative rock elements. I was absolutely taken aback when I realised Sarah’s incredible vocal skills. She has a lot of personality and a great understanding of emotions. Her vocal performances are most likely the driving force for the entire record. With the next track, ‘Hello Tomorrow,’ she demonstrates her musical depth once more. The song’s mix is really creative, and the vocals are given proper attention, which brings the emotion to the forefront. The last voice production was fantastic. Possibly the most important production idea on the record.
The closing song on the album, ‘No More Talking,’ wonderfully encapsulates the songwriting and tone of the entire album. Sarah’s passionate performance is outstanding, and Chris’s seasoned songwriting is real and from the heart. There isn’t a lot of additional noise, and the arrangements are in sync with the song’s requirements. Such a graceful display of talents. I’d like to know more about the creative process behind each song, and the last song’s resolution will make me want to listen to the album again. Emotions take precedence.