Released 2nd April, on Cowsnail Records
Reviewed by Francesca Baker
Folk, if not careful, can have a reputation as the home of campestral musings and floral language. Pretty, but a world away from the lives most of us lead. Soulmates Never Die, the musical alias of Joshua Lewis, takes the story telling balladry and organic impartment that the genre does so well, and chucks in tales of city life, cantankerous hormones, chance meetings, and the difficult territory of girls.
Fuzz flecked strums and grazing glides across the fretboard are evident, the apparent lack of production adding both an element of gruff realism and a filter of fractured beauty. Although lyrics are as direct as the emotions inspiring them (‘those tight pink jeans look really good on you’) and stories taken from situations well versed to most of us, the lo-fi production and bedroom recording, along with the use of first names less than perfect articulation of ‘smoovs’ and ‘birfdays’ means that whilst these are every man feelings, the articulation is intensely personal.
Easy Love is built upon the perfect pop song formula, its consciousness grabbing chord structure, jaunty ïnflections, a breezy melody and a stop start, and new single Rebecca starts in a motion of fuzz that soon kicks into an intensely whimsical delivery. For some reason the opening line of Tiny Rocks invoked lumpy tears; the romance of not engaging in romance in its trussed up fashion. The simple insertion of a ‘not’ in the line ‘let’s take a trip to the beach’ (the reason being that she doesn’t ‘like the sea cos it’s cold’ – a preference I totally agree with) means that the 1 minute 53 second song says more than is usually conveyed in some seven minute epics. ‘You make me feel real’, is surely the most direct a declaration of love and lust that can exist.
It’s this acknowledgement of reality in all its kaleidoscopic elements, and the commitment to convey this in song that makes this an exciting EP. When asked what inspired the songs, the response from Josh said that ‘…waking up in Winter and feeling the cold in an unfamiliar place, wanting to curl up by a fire, longing for the people and the places that made you warm before, but also being excited by changes that are happening and wanting to face them as a new person.’ Being in limbo, discovering yourself, a journey of ups and downs. Life then.
And what a wonderful name.