Place yourself alone on a grassy knoll to gaze into a sunny sky of billowing clouds of white vapour. You want a calming soundtrack for company; you need The Silver Reserve, their self-titled psychedelic debut album, developed from the folk songs of Matthew Sturgess. This is an intricate and dreamy package of work, beautifully produced largely in a North Yorkshire barn.
At almost an hour of well-constructed sound, patience is required but every track delivers its own treat to the listener who may hear resonances of Dave Matthews Band, recall Radiohead, think of Portishead and certainly recollect Grizzly Bear.
Their staple is Sturgess’ soothing lead vocal, soft with a multi-dimensional texture. The romantic lyrics would dissolve sugar but he manages them with an integrity that stops short of nausea. His tones float over a perfectly balanced backdrop of steady beats, twinkling acoustic guitar parts, warm bass and soulful piano. Guest instrumentation such as harmonica and synth invigorate certain tracks whilst at the heart of the album is ‘Sea Note’ in which Sturgess is joined by a female voice. You bop a little as ‘Little Feet’ happily introduces an upbeat chorus. Influenced no doubt by The Strokes, the roguish guitar tone and vocal effects used in ‘Love II’ fits well in such an eclectic collection of songs which even include an intriguing spoken interlude followed by the most intimate of them, ‘Marisol’, in which Sturgess expresses what it is to be lost. ‘Blind’ continues to play on the emotions as Sturgess sings ‘Don’t leave me tonight / Don’t go’.
The Silver Reserve are as laid back as Kurt Vile (particularly Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze) and their production is no less spot on. This is clear in the interesting choice of chords and integrated instrumental parts carefully panned especially in ‘A Wild Look’. In the second half of the track an experimental dip muffles the instruments and a dampened piano crescendos to taper to the outro.
The big hit has to be ‘Track Record’ – a smooth blanket with tasty tapping percussion and trippy effected guitar ascends into a varied tempo and catchy chorus: ‘You’re like an album with one good song / You draw me in but then I wish I was gone’.
The Silver Reserve concludes with a hymnal, ‘Yeah No’, complementing a wash of carefully crafted, intricately produced and stunning songs. Immerse yourself with one of Yorkshire’s finest talents and welcome The Silver Reserve out of the barn and into your speakers – the beginning of great things to come.
“The Silver Reserve” is available now on iTunes and Bandcamp.