Here's something we're attempting for the very first time - a brand new review that's written in rhyme. It started when dunkie dropped us a line, looking for a review of "Working To Design."
dunkie comes from Mountain Ash, Wales, an acoustic artist who brings with him tales of love and of death, of memories and life, of good times and bad, of hardship and of strife.
"Working To Design" comes in seventeen parts, not only the music but also the art. The entire content has dunkie as creator, with Michael Gustavius Payne's art - we'll come to that later.
The albums concept is simple but clever, but to detail each track might take us forever. Each of the tracks intricately combines beautiful lyrics and music that defines a sound that has the welcoming feeling of an old friend but still feels as if it is bang on trend.
Four songs from the album have been released to date, and it's on three of these tracks we'll concentrate.
"Rabbit Hole" has an incredible introduction, which gives an insight to the entire production - layer upon layer of clever snippets combine to make it clear that it's dunkie's vision of bringing together every part to create not just an album but a moving work of art. From the ethereal backing vocals to the glockenspiel, Rabbit Hole has the deceptive feel of an upbeat affair but with lyrics that tell of isolation and despair. It's the story of the loss of a child and a question - if the child was alive in another dimension, what would it be like to watch as it grows?
In sharp contrast, "Sugar" combines ballad-like lyrics with an electronic beat. At five minutes long, it's a real treat! As with the rest of the album, the instrumental blend compliments the message the lyrics send.
dunkies vocals, understated as ever, deliver the
heartfelt thank you to whoever the subject matter
may be (we suspect dunkie's wife?) for being there throughout his life.
Before we move on, it's important to note that the music is just part of what this album promotes. Every song is represented by a piece of art, to back up the message that the song tries to impart. Renowned artist, Michael Gustavius Payne took inspiration from the music to create the compilation of images that encourage you to look inside yourself and really feel the emotions the music creates. To complete the team, the entire selection was produced by Wayne Bassett, who took the collection and put it together in such a way that emphasised what dunkie is trying to say. Wayne takes the music to new heights and accentuates instrumental highlights that build the emotion of the songs to a crescendo.
"Can A Song Save Your Life?" is the song that comes next, and to put it quite simply, the answer is yes! It's a reminder to musicians just how much the music you make can touch the lives of the people who hear it. The track opens with a guitar that invites you to fear it before acoustic guitar and dunkie's voice break down before building to a cacophony of sound.
I have to say, moving away from all the rhyme, (which seemed to be such a good idea at the time) that this entire album moved me. The songs are all beautifully written, the emotions on show are real and raw and I know from speaking to dunkie that everything is based on real life experiences. I would urge you to listen to the whole album when it is released but you must hear the songs available so far. dunkie is a master at making deeply moving stories into ones of hope - and that is very difficult to achieve while remaining honest.
It's also very important to listen while looking at the amazing artwork by Michael. Each piece gives you a further insight into the meaning behind the songs, as well as providing an interesting visual aid to further enhance the listening experience. In addition, take some time to appreciate all the subtlety of the production that Wayne brings to the project.
On a final note, dunkie comes across as finding it difficult to be centre stage despite his talent as a singer/songwriter! He would like to say a huge thank you to all of the people who helped to give the project wings.