The Dunwells will reward your Blind Sighted Faith: Given to Sound takes a look at their classy debut.
The Dunwell’s are a five piece from Leeds and their debut album Blind Sighted Faith came to our attention recently. Their website biography begins “utterly natural, there’s no more fitting description for the music as well as the story of their magical rise”… Given to Sound would like to take issue with that; for a kick off magic isn’t natural, it is a construct, it is sleight of hand and distraction to cover up what is actually occurring, deception, if you will. A lot of band’s do that, make a big noise to cover up what is in reality an alarming lack of talent.
This does not apply to The Dunwells. It isn’t a product of magic, it’s not a big loud noise to distract and deceive, it’s the product of hard work and obvious talent. While the band are in America on tour we consider it our public service duty to take you through the album so that when they return home, you can say you were warned.
Blind Sighted Faith (released March 5th on Playing In Traffic records) starts brilliantly, I Could Be A King begins with Joseph Dunwell’s voice and acoustic… “down your tools and play the game”… and just when you think you know where this is going, the drums kick in like some infectious call to arms, it takes you along. The song really grows from nothing; before you know it it’s all going on (electric guitars alongside a banjo for crying out loud, gloriously) and by time the background oh oh oh’s come in you are completely hooked. The song is brilliant.
The album’s title track follows and along with some nice guitar moments you get a real sense of the vocal harmonies in this band. Blind Slighted Faith lyrically seems to be about love, who’s in it, who’s not, taking chances and knowing when you’ve missed yours. Hand That Feeds is a bit of a surprise; it’s ever so slightly Soundtrack of Our Lives-like to our ears, a bit of a stomp with a lower deeper vocal and more of a groove than has been heard up till this point, Dave Dunwell takes over on vocals for this one.
Elsewhere, Only Me is gorgeous vocally and has an elegant acoustic guitar and the odd piano note for company until about a minute from the end when the electric guitar soothes an already mellow song all the way to the end. Music like this seems effortless, it strides when it needs to; guitars aren’t afraid to give a few tracks a bit of backbone (Elizabeth) but the band know when to only tiptoe around with a more gentle approach; Perfect Timing is strong and I Want To Be has some really soulful guitar work and the hint of organ gives it a bit of a smooth gospel sound.
Oh Lord comes second from last on the album, hoping that you’ve hung around ‘till that point and won’t be scared off by the running time in excess of six minutes. There’s the Whiter Shade of Pale organ soul and guitars that scream with the lost love theme. You aren’t looking at your watch waiting for this song to end, but there are stronger songs on the album; Borrow Me finishes the collection strongly with its country blues feel and slow tempo, there’s a light night bar feel that tells us this would be great to hear live.
Blind Sighted Faith is remarkably confident, and it should be. The first three songs are worth the price of the album on their own but songs like Elizabeth, Follow The Road and Borrow Me ensure it is quality throughout. You will find tracks that speak to you more than others, and you will probably have your skippable tracks but in our opinion there aren’t many of them.
The music is put together so that you do want to dive into it when you listen, there is notes and harmonies and chords that show depth and texture. We appreciate vocals, bass, drums and guitar as much anyone but this band gives you something else. It is acoustic folk with blues balls and a lot of soul. They’d probably use a washboard on the next album, and you know what? They’d make it work too.
Imagine Mumford and Sons if they had more than The Cave, imagine Ed Sheeran if large parts of his + album didn’t inspire sleep. The Dunwells send their music in so many directions you can’t sleep walk through it, you can never assume you know what the next track is going to be like (obviously you can once you’ve listened to it lots but you get the point), and there is a lot more quality still to deliver after you’ve heard the single (which is the instant classic I Could Be A King, for your information). Buy the single HERE.
There you have it, if you are amongst the uninitiated then consider yourself informed. The Dunwells are impressive; don’t just take our word for it, listen to the album. Buy the album (UK) or Buy the album (US)
To check out more images of the band check out the P Shikotra Photography site for the full set from the band’s HMV Ritz performance in February.
STOP PRESS Two UK dates have been announced. Welcome the band home and catch performances at Cornbury Festival in Chipping Norton (July 1) and Shepard’s Bush Empire (July 3).
Words © Simon A. Moult / Moultymedia 2012 Images © Priti Shikotra Photography 2012. Used by permission.