Three Acoustic Album Reviews: Joe Symes and The Loving Kind, Luke Clerkin and Daithi Murphy (recording as Natures)

Sometimes you just have to unplug – it may be to disconnect with the world and find a bit of solitude, or as in this case, put down the electric guitar and pick up the acoustic one.

I hadn’t planned to do a trio of acoustic album reviews, it just happened this way. I am glad it did though because I like to see the lighter side of music too.

My three reviews feature Liverpool band Joe Symes and the Loving Kind, Dublin singer/songwriter Luke Clerkin and Dublin musician Daithi Murphy, better known as the frontman for alternative metal band Attack the Day. I love the variety of the three and enjoyed listening to their softer sides.

Here is what I heard:

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Joe Symes and The Loving Kind/Ashlea Miller Photography

Joe Symes and the Loving Kind, “Acoustic Variations.” This Liverpool-based trio never disappoints. Joe is always spot on and the Liverpool influences flow solidly through his music. He is supported by bandmates Colin White on drums and Andy Cleary on bass. These lads sound just as good acoustic as electric.

“Fine Line” – This song was made to be acoustic. It’s bouncy, sprightly and fun. Joe has a pitch-perfect voice for it too. The kazoo solo is a whimsical touch, keeping the tune from getting too serious.

“I’m Gonna Find Out Someday” – Influences of 1970s The Beatles shine through in this track. It’s soft and gentle, sweet but not cloying.

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“No Turning Back” – A lovely little nostalgic tune featuring guitar, keys and bongos. It has a nice retro feel, kind of a late 60s vibe.

“Not Coming Back Tomorrow” – A gentle waltz of a song, it glides through the ears softly. This track is steeped in the Liverpool sound.

You can hear a sampler of the acoustic EP on the website http://joesymesandthelovingkind.co.uk.

You can also find Joe Symes and The Loving Kind on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/joesymesandthelovingkindUK/ and on Twitter at @JoeSymesandTLK. The self-titled album is available at https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/joe-symes-and-the-loving-kind/id676228102.

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Luke Clerkin/Damian Smyth photo

Luke Clerkin, “Ink Written Messages.” The Dublin singer-songwriter has been making a name for himself for some time now, both in Ireland and now the world. He is wise beyond his years and is a true storyteller in song. Luke has created his new album wrapped around a relationship and the changes it goes through.

“Home” (featuring Orlagh Kenny) – A nostalgic track that looks back at coming home and features the soulful voice of Orlagh Kenny, and bursts forth into an Irish jam of sorts. Violins and guitars share equal space as it becomes a joyous dance.

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“Ink Written Messages” – Luke wistfully sings of written messages from a lover, as he contemplates where the relationship is going. A wonderful tune, with acoustic guitar complemented by the violin.

“Second Start” – Relationship worries cloud this gentle, simple tune played on guitar and violin. Luke bears his heart as he sings about common fears.

“Console” – Such a bare-bones stripped down track, it easily matches the stripped down lyrics and sentiment Luke sings as he offers to console a hurting lover.

You can find Luke Clerkin on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LukeClerkin/ and on Twitter at @LukeClerkin.

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Daithi Murphy/Photo by Ciara

Daithi Murphy, recording as Natures, “Half-Hearted.” Perhaps best-known as the vocalist for Attack the Day, an alternative metal band from Dublin, Ireland, Daithi is also an intelligent and very thoughtful and gifted singer/songwriter in his own right. He has recently recorded several EPs as Natures, this being one of them.

“At The End of the Day It Was Always You.” An instrumental piano and guitar duet. It’s a composition of simplicity, following scales and light harmonies. Very delicate and intricately done.

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“Half-Hearted.” A live-sounding take, with fingers sliding up and down the guitar neck as Daithi sings plaintively to someone he has wronged. The sincerity flows from the song.

“Fit In.” A playful guitar-led track that merges with piano and Daithi’s vocals, it explores the lighter side of harmonies. It builds nicely in the center and flows well.

“If I Stay.” Dueling guitar lines are balanced by dueling vocal parts on this hopeful number. The song is a fanciful dance of his fingers across the guitar strings, making them sing.

https://naturesirl.bandcamp.com/album/halfhearted

You can find Daithi on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/daithi.murphy and on Twitter at @natures_ .

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