Close Your Eyes And Think Of Nothing
TBR: 20th March
Glastonbury, Bearded Theory, and Cornbury festivals have all seen Pavey Ark perform since their conception in 2016. This includes supporting headliners such as Badly Drawn Boy, Rozi Plain, and Steve Mason on tour. Headed by established song-writer Neil Thomas, Pavey Ark are now set to release their long-awaited album, Close Your Eyes And Think Of Nothing. It's a personal reflection of Neil's personal story in many ways, including thoughts about first-time fatherhood, letting go of the necessity to work, and future hopes, the work encapsulates the mental geography of many through the lens of one.
The album opens with a pretty guitar melody, picked from various interesting chords. Vocals begin, melody merges in wafts of string, guitar, and possibly harmonica. The drums patter in like the feet of children entering a room filled with balloons. Cymbals build up after a couple of bars while the vocal progresses in scale to bring out a sunnier side to the clouds. Wallflowers gently addresses meaningful feelings that swell and blossom inside. As it evolves, distortion is added to the guitar and the drums include a subtle pressure. This settles to allow the string section to burst into rays of light.
An upbeat guitar riff strums a rock beat across snappy quick drums. Lines of rhythmic poetry project in bursts of vocal that frame the tempo. Brass instruments flow like rivers glowing in sunset reflections while strings soar above as wading birds looking for silts to probe. Soft vocals gleam in neat and catchy formations. The music moves swiftly at first then slows with vocal harmonisations and a steady pause in the guitar. Blues notes frolic and swerve across the gradients of melody as Neil's voice beckons us closer. A guitar solo breaks free, showering us in confetti like emotions.
The title track, Close Your Eyes And Think Of Nothing begins with glissando guitar, along with waves of shimmering cymbal. Picked notes shine through as the oceanic percussion continues and builds with subtle additions. Vocal and strings enter, the harmony between the two adds a layer of icing, swirling and modelled to uniquely compliment the composition beneath. Pretty melody and progressive song-writing gives us a relaxing sit-through journey into a soft yet slightly punchy whist. As the song begins to fade, the violin section opens up, flowing with beautiful and emotive patterns.
Next, the guitar picks a melody like stepping stones across a rocky stream. The violins add their warmth in lines of drawn out minor key as Neil opens up and sings his heart out. His emberline voice radiates with heated glow as mild breaths push the energy around in abstract motions. As the track moves, the chords distil and bubble down which gives a position for trumpet to enter and blast a slow-moving and evocative milk through the dusty air. Leaf by Leaf is a smooth walk through sunny park avenues.
It's followed by Two Blue Lines. A guitar melody that reminds me of The Rolling Stones flows out as the vocals begin. Intricate melody and heart-felt projection gives the music an ever-growing human quality. Notes trill and slide behind the face of the song, violins enter as the voice changes to oohs and ahhs that snugly shuffle between the beats. It works as a kind of chorus that breaks up the melodic verse lines. Dreamy and warm guitar shines with the astral voice, cosmic inflections spin us in ecliptic orbits of high albedo.
Picked notes begin the next track as a quick drum flushes out a lead blues melody. The higher energy and gear of this offering brings us out of the sensation of chill left over from before. We're still relaxing, only it's got distortion. Warm and buzzy notes dance like butterflies in forest glades as a chuggy drumbeat merges with chords and melodic progress. Hidden Hills takes us to a place where we can stare in wonder at the stories to be told and lessons learned from places seldom seen. The song gives us a sense of rock n roll as the music opens into a room of palm-muted blues and major-scale rhythmically played in at a galloping pace.
Lost In Blue begins. Elegant melody opens on the guitar. Strings add bass notes that rumble against the harmony. These rise to become high notes which dance and billow in the up-draught of guitar. Drums add expertly positioned handholds in rationed elements that instil quality rather than quantity. Twin strings dance together like courting dragonflies as the vocal insists with feeling and sensitivity. The track ends with an upward burst of energy that slightly distorts and warms the music behind the poetic lines.
An interesting echo effect pushes palm muted acoustic chords into a percussive pattern to begin the next track. This becomes the basis for chords and strings to helix on bandstands of sound. The group coalesce in genuine togetherness as the music moves as one, led by the voice which leads like a confident starling. She's Already Flown has a buoyant edge, floaty and light-weight composition gives a lift to low-gravity vocals which twist and bob in the comparative density.
Melodic and tuneful notes on guitar match sleek drifts of violin for the opening of the next number. Vocals with a subtle compression skate over the crests and peaks, an introspective energy calls us inward. Lines about making it out of the prison resonate with cooling and foundational harmonies and wrapped notes. Breaking Out is a song written from a place where we put ourselves first, and embrace the individual that we are. It's an adventure of dream and hope, one that perhaps never can be reached. Dogs die and people do thoughtless things, after-all.
Jenny Let Go has an upbeat jig about it, as high chords strum joyous phrases in a neat and dancing beat. It's a song that lifts us up and reminds us that there is fun to be had. Unison melody on the guitar and what could be a banjo craft a swerving groove through happy drums and spirally vocals. It's a quick, snappy number that takes the penultimate place well.
The mood is toned down for a melancholy tune as the last song finds its way to us. Vocals made of a stream of quickly sung words flow like melted treacle through tunnels of guitar. The flow builds and slows as each verse and chorus makes its appearance. Consider Your Hand grows with drums and progressive chords to soar upward and culminate in a beat driven yet imagination led thinking song.
This tender album will sit well with fans of The Doves and Elbow. A manicured British emotion fuels the heart of this well-written and calming collection of songs.
You can catch up with Pavey Ark on Facebook
You can watch Pavey Ark on tour.
Dates confirmed so far:
Tues 31st Mar - Greystones, Sheffield
Mon 13th Apr - Oporto, Leeds
Fri 17 Apr - Green Note, London
Sat 25th Apr - Hull, Middleton Hall (album launch)
Fri 28th May - Acoustic Festival of GB, Uttoxeter
Sat 20th Jun - C-Fab Folk and Blues Festival, Lincolnshire
Fri 24th July - Deershed Festival, North Yorkshire
Fri 14th Aug - Boomtown Fair, Hampshire
Sat 5th Sept - Moseley Folk Festival, Birmingham
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