Review: Joseph And David – Rise Up The Sun

To an extent, I’d be tempted to keep this review very short and sweet, with a clear but very heartfelt declaration, along the lines of…

this is rather brilliant.

go buy it.

fin.

However, I feel this would be somewhat cheeky to both yourselves, them, and TFFT…and so instead I shall attempt to express why I believe this brand new EP from Joseph And David, to be rather brilliant.

First of all, it is a delight when an e-mail drops into our inbox, labelled ‘new band’, and you happen to find this band to be as talented as these boys are. That is not a criticism of other artists who have done this act of promotion, far from it. However, we are often inundated with requests and at times, though we cannot praise their efforts enough, the spark just isn’t there. With Joseph And David, however, within the first listen of this EP, we were blown away….and this is something very exciting indeed.

In addition, this is a brilliantly produced EP. There are many occasions where an artist is too hasty to get their music out there, promoting poorly recorded tracks, including too many or too few songs, or not thinking about the tracklisting order. Joseph Lawrenson and David Henshaw luckily have done quite the opposite. For starters, they have clearly put a great deal of time and effort into the recording of this EP, bringing in the necessary backing instruments to create the grand sounds that feature on the record. They have also thought about the number of tracks featured; 5 individually brilliant but equally connecting songs, that provide the listener with a solid twenty minutes to get to know this new artist…exactly what an EP should do.

The record begins with swiftly plucked acoustic and the lone vocals of David Henshaw, baring his beautifully heartfelt lyrics for all to hear, before the additions of strings and keys blend in. Lifting the listener’s heart with great intent, rolling drums then rise for a stunning crescendo, before jaws inevitably drop, having heard such a wonderful start to an EP. The track is titled I’m Here; an intended declaration from both members of this talented partnership, stating to the listener that they are Joseph And David, and this, is what they do…Borderline then proceeds, again displaying the start-slowly-go-big effect to perfection. Though this can get tiresome on occasions, it seems less noticeable on this record, perhaps because one is concentrating more on Henshaw’s lyrics, which also begin hushed and whispered, before being let loose and powered out with pure, heartfelt emotion. The music is equally a joy to hear, with Lawrenson’s keys blending effortlessly with sea-shanty sounds of melodica, violin and accordian.

Tracks three and four are possibly the best on this record, displaying all the best bits of Joseph, David and co.’s talents, on both ends of the scale. Sleepy Heart is a fun concoction of sounds…it starts with cheerful keys,  then opens into a slowed down verse of some more wonderful vocals, before a pulsating build up of noises takes over; from strings, to horns, to drums, to Henshaw’s happy cries of ‘Wake Up Your Heart! We Are Free!’…leaving a wide grin on our faces, and most likely their’s as well. It is a fabulous three minutes, but that may be it’s only flaw…the track comes to end too early and leaves the listener wanting just another few seconds or so more, of this uplifting moment. The single Falling Wood then ensues. A much slower paced track at first, Joseph And David again take advantage of a plethora of instruments, as well as the great vocals of Henshaw. His voice flows with ease from fragile and whispered words, to raw, impassioned cries of ‘Bring out your heavy burden, Call off the hurts you hold in fear. Tell me how you feel, Tell me how you feel my love’….they are clearly mastering their talents, and it would be a crime if tracks like these were not heard on a much wider scale in the very near future. They certainly deserve this to be the case.

And finally, the EP comes to a close with the stunning title-track Rise Up The Sun. Completely awashed with inspiration from Zach Condon, it would be difficult not to compare this to the gorgeous Baltic sounds of Beirut. However, this track still has it’s own unique qualities and has a raw edge to it, that for the first time on the EP, hints at a dressed down, less produced feel to it. There are background noises at the beginning and a choir of vocalists behind Henshaw’s rising notes in the final moments, which add a delightfully rustic charm as the EP draws to a stunning end.

I feel somewhat taken aback every time I listen to this record all the way through, and despite my best efforts, I still don’t feel like I’ve done it enough justice. It is a remarkable effort from an upcoming band who are still mastering their qualities and working on perfecting new ones. There are flaws, such as building to a fluttering crescendo on most of the tracks, which to some could get a little samey, and at times ending the songs a moment too early…however that really is knit-picking! Joseph Lawrenson and David Henshaw, as well their gang of merry instrumentalists, have created quite the stunning EP and it would not surprise me in the slightest if they were huge names on the music scene, this time next year, if not sooner.

Rise Up The Sun is released on Monday 19th December, and the boys will be playing an EP Launch Night Show that very evening, at Holy Trinity Church in their hometown of Leeds.