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  Roger Waters on Amused To Death


New 2021 Releases

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The Sad Song Company SAUDADE. The Sad Song Company

The Sad Song Co. is the project of Nigel Powell, currently drummer for Frank Turner And The Sleeping Souls, Dive Dive, and ex-Unbelievable Truth. The band also includes silent partner Jason Moulster, also previously of Unbelievable Truth, but he tends to keep himself to himself and stay in the background.

Unbelievable Truth formed in 1996 and released their acclaimed debut album ALMOST HERE in 1998 (#21 UK; two top 40 UK single hits; over 100,000 sales; worldwide global touring), and its follow up SORRYTHANKYOU in 2000. Andy Yorke left the band that year, so Nigel gathered the songs he had been writing under the umbrella of The Sad Song Co. name for his debut release MISERYGUTS in 2003.

Extensive hard work surrounding Dive Dive’s debut album TILTING AT WINDMILLS (top 20 UK indie chart album; 3 top 20 UK indie single chart hits) and producing the debut album THE BIGGER PICTURE for Belgian artist Milow (top 10 and certified gold in Belgium; top 20 single hit in Belgium, Holland, Germany and Switzerland) delayed the follow up POIGNANT ADVICE until 2007, where it was launched during a special guest appearance at Marillion’s bi-annual convention in Port Zelande, Holland.

During 2006 Dive Dive had become musical partners with Frank Turner, and his burgeoning popularity, combined with a relentless tour schedule (including headlining Wembley Arena and the O2 Arena in London; performing at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics; 6 full albums including 2 UK top 10 and a UK top 12), put The Sad Song Co. on ice for many years.

In 2015 Nigel finally found time to return to his solo work and released the thematic album IN AMBER in 2016 following a successful crowd funding campaign. Two years later saw the release of WORTH. In 2020 he parted company with Frank Turner after 14 years to concentrate on the release of his fifth album SAUDADE in early 2021, preceded by the single ‘Feeding’.

Created during the pandemic, SAUDADE is not purely a lockdown record but one that resonates with freedom and personal rediscovery to which we can all relate. Comprising 11 songs, it’s a record that will touch upon love and loss, politics and the pandemic, and finding your way through a world upside down.

With complete focus now on The Sad Song Co, for the first time in almost 15 years, Powell is in his “creatively wired” zone, mapping moods and moments into songs of experimental and accessible nature. In SAUDADE he musters his finest collection of songs to date. Written, recorded, played and mixed entirely by Powell, the record comes out on 22nd January 2021.

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Review

The record opens with the title song, a beautiful and haunting instrumental which opens with gentle piano notes before delivering orchestral sounds punctuated by the most wonderful percussive moments. From its quiet beginnings it grows into an epic instrumental piece which I much admired. ‘These Tears Won’t Cry Themselves’ introduces Powell’s voice which I also found more than interesting through its distinctive, pure, natural sound. The song is certainly highly original but is also very accessible through its strong melody and superbly produced sound. It’s also high on emotion and sincerity.

‘Hold’ is altogether more rocky with a powerful backbeat and more aggressive Powell vocal. With a strong melody, bold choruses and literate, emotional lyrics (”I can’t see beyond this moment.”) this could so easily grace the output of higher grade radio stations. ‘Hastings Out Of Season’ is another melancholic beauty  as it gently trundles along with Powell’s expressive vocal underpinning a song that’s highly distinctive and adventurous. ‘Makarska Sunset, 25th May 2018′ is a mesmerising, short instrumental interlude before the folk/pop Bowie-esque vibe of ‘Away Until Christmas Morning’. Powell’s delivery is genuinely believable and moving helped by a lovely piano backdrop which verges on the classical.

‘Deserted By Every God’ is a stupendous track with its glacial pace, stripped down percussive background and massive melody. Powell’s vocal and the returning distant piano notes make this one of several record highlights and worthy of high praise. From it’s modest beginnings it develops into something epic and quite superb, and I wonder whether there will be a better song released in 2021…’My Saccharine’ is the record’s first single and understandably so with its more aggressive, rockier facade, memorable melody and chorus hooks.

‘Feeding’ also hits a rockier vein with its quickened pace and heavier sound. ‘Lighthouse’ leads off with bold piano notes before Powell’s pure vocal enters to put meat on the emotional bones. It’s one of those songs that one feels compelled to stop and listen. The solo piano notes are dramatic but develop into a sonic climax that seals this song with some force as it melds the with record’s final song, ‘Sine Qua Non’, which rather appropriately ends proceedings on an instrumental and strongly melodic note.

This is undoubtedly a special and very fine record that, if entered into the fray, could come on top in annual award events. I also believe it could attract international audiences.

4.5/5

https://www.thesadsongco.com/

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