Review: Stefan Melbourne – Before The Sun Sets

 

This debut EP is perfect for listening to in the light of one of those long, orange-red summer sunsets. It’s beautiful, melodic and it plays like an act of catharsis, each chapter of the story unrolling in your ears with every new track. Stefan Melbourne has a lot of talent and he has unreservedly poured it into this album.

A Place To Hide begins with a riff that I couldn’t walk away from, and his husky, handsome voice drew me in from the off. He sings of love and life tinged with sadness ‘Cause now that this old flame is but a flicker of our life’. Accompanied by a delicate female singer, Chloe Leavers, Stefan takes us on a journey; love’s adventure that, inevitably, finds a dead end. It’s not at all dark though, as the melancholy is mixed with a sense of leaving old baggage behind and embracing new beginnings. How Long Is Always has a timeless quality to it, while One Last Time is the bittersweet song of a final parting; ‘I just want to see them shine one last time’.

It’s full of memorable lyrics in the form of assertions, requests, advice; ‘freedom lives in the hearts of those who dream’. None of the lyrics are lost; every word is given the opportunity to dance along your spine and into your head, many sticking like honeycomb in the teeth. His autobiographical imprint on the album gives it an extra dimension and the feel of a living album – ‘I don’t forget who I am, I just forget who I’m not’ and ‘we don’t need the favours of fortune to be brave’. His work has echoes of Damien Rice and Nick Drake, and the same sense that he really knows the emotion that he sings with.

I eagerly anticipate the release of more work; four tracks is not enough to satisfy, it only creates a lasting hunger for more.

Sara West