EP Review: Stefan Melbourne – The Way We Fall

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4.5

Two years ago, almost to this day, Thank Folk For That hosted its first TFFT Live night at The Castle, Manchester – an event that would go on to host the likes of Eliza And The Bear, Pete Roe and Emily & The Woods. However, despite all of these great acts that we’ve delightfully had the pleasure of hosting, it is the first show – when Melbourne was joined on the bill by the incredible Georgia Ruth and Ruarri Joseph – that continues to stick in our mind. This may be because it was the beginning, a sell out, a new experience. But one thing is for sure, we saw the making of an exceptional talent in Stefan Melbourne.

One week ago, the Manchester-based artist released his new EP, The Way We Fall. The record follows on from his fantastic debut Before The Sun Sets released in 2011 – an EP that was wonderfully laden with Nashville-esque, Americana tones. His new 4 track effort, recorded over five cold days this winter at Manchester’s Sacred Trinity Church, has a much grander sound thanks to the help of a backing band and more of his honey-voiced, long-time collaborator Chloe Leavers. Nonetheless, the lyrics remain stunningly written – finding inspiration and influences from his own personal life journey.

As mentioned, The Way We Fall sees the addition of a new backing band, who we were very fortunate to see perform for the first time at Melbourne’s EP launch at Gullivers, Manchester, last Tuesday. The band first feature on the beautiful opening track Don’t Let Me Go. This song, is in fact, the song we most remember from two years ago. Not because of its first stage performance that very night, but because of a live session recording that we filmed a few hours before. Hearing this track was like a sudden breath of fresh air, the unveiling of a song that just blew us away. And so, having heard this track (which TFFT actually named…if we remember correctly), both live and on the EP with the addition of a band, we are over the moon that Stefan has found a way of improving this track even more.

Chloe Leavers features on all of the EP songs, and on occasion, it feels more like a two piece rather than a solo effort. Her gorgeous vocals give second track Landslide an extra lift, opening the first minute of the song, and the balance of their harmonies together, is simply majestic.

Stefan’s progression is clear to see in Won’t You Wait – where previously Melbourne may have continued on his lo-fi, acoustic path at this point in a recording, this time there is a grander, more pulsating groove to his sound, with the help of said band. Yet, he is sure not to wander too far from the path, with Something Of Mine bringing the EP to a wondrous, calming close, again with the help of the angelic Leavers.

Having witnessed Melbourne’s most recent performance, it is obvious that he is ready to do business. Other new tracks, such as the wonderfully roaring Fever and the heartbreaking yet hopeful story of The Ballad Of Jojo Burn, highlight his growing ability to write consistently exceptional songs. And so, as he travels the country on his debut tour next week, we hope that the rest of the UK latch on to this supreme talent.