Scene and Heard – CCLXXI : Pry – Major of Roses (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

23376142_292236467942997_1597477921029238499_nRight from the off there is something of Bowie’s Blackstar vibe at the heart of this second single from Major of Roses. Not perhaps in the vocals, here they fall into deeper and more resonant realms, but the dark minimalism, the poignancy of the lyricism and the general brooding nature of the piece. It revels in melancholy without plunging into misery, it is reflective rather than self-pitying, is heartfelt rather than heart-aching.

Built out of the most plaintive and sparing of piano lines, a sparse beat and a few surrounding sonic details such as distant synth lines and occasional vocal accompanying harmonies, it frames the vocals brilliantly, allowing the rich baritone to be most effective. It revels in space and atmospherics, anticipation and understatement, things which seem rare in the modern musical world, Pry being the perfect antidote to the bombastic and cluttered pop that we are subjected to on a daily basis.

It is a song confident enough in its own skin to take its time, which revels in restraint and underplay, often as interested in what is happening between the notes as the sounds themselves. It is a song built around space, carefully crafted sounds creating a sonic wake as it builds ambient landscapes of meditative post-pop. It is also a song you could describe as unique, and beautiful, haunting, ambient and otherworldly, built through seamless and graceful musical lines and leaves the listener to join dots. This is music as suggestion rather than direction, neither leading nor following but happier to follow its own meandering instincts.

The best music is found in a place that has no need for pigeon-holes and labels, and Major of Roses is happy to make music which wilfully subverts the listeners expectations and journalistic labelling. Genres? Who needs them?

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