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Alex Hedley Alex Hedley
Album: This Life
Label: Cyber Nomad
Tracks: 5

"Let it roll on" The familiar three or four chord folk type intro to this song does not prepare the listener for the somewhat surprising register of Alex Hedley's voice as he proceeds to relay the lyrics. His tone has an urgency about it which is by no means displeasing. That said, there is a dichotomy between the lyrics and their delivery. It seems he is proclaiming almost at the top of his voice, "don't wake, me I'm a rock that's a thousand years old, surrounded by sea, I'll dream of where I'll be when I get going, I'll get gone." (Précis). I must say that I liked the juxtaposition of the two. It encourages you to take note of the lyrics and the compelling story they have to tell. I am not surprised that Alex favoured this track off the EP to be released as a single.

Alex Hedley was one half of the band "Saturday Sun." This band achieved recognition through Spotify where they have achieved eight million plays so far of tracks from their album "Orixé" and comparison made to such luminaries as John Martyn, Pink Floyd and Jeff Buckley by The Guardian no less. This EP contains five songs all written by Alex, but it is his voice which lends drama to each of them. It ranges from falsetto to a powerful guttural growl.

"Possibility" The occulting guitar at the beginning of this track sets the rhythm for a dreamier missive about better times. The refrain becomes a louder, almost angry plea to be left alone then drifts away into the ether as the song fades. Alex Hedley shares an attribute with the well known Cambridge folk singer, Bernard Hoskin in that his enunciation and clarity of diction is perfect. The listener is left in no doubt as to what the song is about as they can clearly hear every word. Would that some of his contemporaries emulated that style.

"This Life" Starting out as a more introspective composition about being alone and thinking as the night turns black. The metal strings of the guitar provide a settling backdrop with the occasional pleasing blues style "bent" note added for effect. The essence is that we are ourselves and ponders on how we affect others with all the pain that can bring. The production by John Cornfield is impressive ranging from a single guitar accompaniment to an almost Phil Spector type wall of sound giving vent to Alex's fine falsetto voice at it's peak. A lot of thought has gone into the production process and the final sonance of the result. I think this was my favourite track on the disc.

"Poor Soul" The world is a better place if you do things for free for folk who are down on their luck. But sometimes their bleating can do your head in, so why can't they keep it to themselves? Containing the odd expletive this is a powerful and slightly angry anthem about folks feeling sorry for themselves.

"Burn Away" Folksy type guitar fingering introduces us to sorrowful tale of misfortune and reflection. Whilst reviewing this CD, I had this track playing through the speakers and my wife came into the room "Who is that playing the guitar?" She asked, "it's good!" I couldn't have put it better myself.

Alex Hedley has a distinctive voice and style. It would be a delight for an audience to attend a full concert, but he apparently puts in such effort that I would fear for his vocal chords. However he has obviously been singing for some years and touring extensively so perhaps I worry unnecessarily. This EP is certainly a showcase for his talent, I commend it to the house.

Tony Collins