Eyal Erlich – Selected Songs (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

eyal_photos_colors14Anything that instantly evokes Damien Rice’s brilliant use of spacial awareness and atmosphere as an instrument is going to find favour with this music scribe. Here is the same space between the notes, the same anticipation bridging the sentences that he also painted into his music so effectively. But it isn’t enough to just follow someone else’s lead and what Eyal Erlich brings to the table is a passionate, lo-fi acoustic vibe blended with a DIY folk attitude. This is music boiled down to bare emotions, where every extraneous layer has been removed and between the most minimal and often wonderfully wayward chord patterns, deftly picked string work and the often fragile always impassioned yet driven vocal there is an intensity and devotion that would be lost if he had resorted to a more complex set up. Less is more, as they say.

Late night musings and restless early hours fitful thoughts, and examinations of the stuff of life’s rich and sometimes painful pageant weave their way through the collective narrative, one that is both universally familiar to us all yet totally personal to its creator. These are the familiar everyman tales of unrequited love, loss and life in general, the stories behind the scars and bruises, metaphorical and otherwise, that we can all relate to. These are the emotional underdog’s song, the songs of those who have lived a life of ups and downs, and the underdogs song is always more interesting than the winners.

The real charm of this collection of songs is the directness and simplicity, it doesn’t bow to the fickle finger of fashion, instead following its own rules, and for me that is always the more interesting path to take, maverick, outsider and interesting and for those who have forgotten the role of mavericks in music, I have a two word gentle reminder. Bob Dylan. I’m not saying that this collection of songs are particularly reminiscent of his Bobness, but I am saying that just occasionally people with unconventional styles and less traditional approaches can still find a way to the top. In fact it is exactly what keeps the musical gene pool populated.

It Don’t Seem Right is built on an emotive blues groove, Mourning Love touches on pop melodics and commercial accessibility and Rain blends mournful, almost operatic vibes with Neil Young’s falsetto reaches and it is here that his true originality shines through. Not in any way deriding the songs that surround it but every act needs an angle, a hook to sell the music on, and Rain is central to this.

Some music is all about high drama, polished production and big, brash statements. This is not that kind of music. This is emotion turned into song, the music you would hear if your soul itself could hold a tune. It’s always good to remind yourself that it’s all about the gift, not just the package it comes in.

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