"Style" by Green HandsReview
Readers of my now several Green Hands reviews will be under few illusions as to my respect & liking for the band: I've certainly not concealed it. Now out is "Style", the latest single and itself a taster for their upcoming 'Another Life or Two' EP which will come out on July 21st.
This one, while as classy as its predecessors, is cut from a rather different bolt of cloth, demonstrating their range effectively: it's almost a roots type song and I'd not blame some listeners from assuming, on first hearing, that this was a different band to the one which produced "Standing In The Shadows", "Middle of Nowhere" or "(The Day You Found) Jackson Browne".
So what is writer & leading light in the band, Jack Telford's, strategy here? Surely not to confuse his audience while he's still building it? I think not. I suspect that the basis is simply that he writes honestly as he feels & if that means songs need to have different forms & arrangements, so be it. That's integrity & I applaud it. At a deeper level, whether it's conscious or not, I think he may see Green Hands as a sophisticated act, one without a suffocatingly narrow characteristic style & he may well be aiming at a savvy audience who can appreciate this & has the capacity to process a range of styles from one act. One with a broad palate rather than one depending on white bread. It will certainly be interesting to hear what the EP as a whole sounds like & what range of styles appears upon it.
As with the other songs, that emotional integrity is to the forefront in both the words & the delivery of them. The arrangement seems the fittest for them and if they have already demonstrated that they can navigate the potential hazards of the fuller, more complex ones without becoming overblown, with "Style" we have proof of conquering the dangers of the simpler ones, which can, if handled badly, expose deficiencies in vocal ability, instrumental skill & lyrical meaning.
To be honest, listening to it, if were to be told that the lyrics started life as a poem & were then set to music, I could believe that. They therefore deserve prominence & not only does the arrangement deliver this, but the production by the band and Patch Murphy (who is also the one who mixed it) gives them a chance to engage with us.
A slightly melancholic soliloquy which may include fragments of a true story or story in its more specific passages (if not, they are effective as symbols), set, as I've said to a largely acoustic backing as far as I can tell, the Warwickshire base of the band, the pastoral tone plus the inclusion of a "Jane", hints at a nod in the direction of Nick Drake, though no more than a nod as the guitar playing bears no resemblance…. I think though that they are both drinking from similar cups when it comes to allusive, acoustic songwriting.
Bring on the rest of 'Another Life or Two'!