Album, Single and EP Reviews



  London Nights by Royston Vince

London Nights cover art

Artist: Royston Vince
Title: London Nights
Catalogue Number: Tunecore
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2007

With song titles such as "Brick Lane", "Dockland Echoes" and "By Way of Kensal Green", this Bluesbunny wonders if he's going to be taken on a musical guided tour of the oversized rabbit warren that is London by the music on this album with Royston Vince as the tour guide.

The first track, "London Nights", starts with reverb drenched piano and bursts forward with a frantic sequenced bass line over a hi-hat heavy drum loop. Calling to mind the bustle of a big city, this is a fine opener. "Behind the Light" has a constant dripping tap sound running though the track which, despite the title, has the darkest and moodiest of bass lines with the soaring, dissonant Hammond organ lines helping to build up an unexpected sense of menace. Later, "By Way of Kensal Green" picks up the pace after the unfocused meandering of pieces such as "Shining River" or" People Horizon" and shows more than a hint of prog-rock with its retro sounds. Rather more structured than some of the other songs on the album, this track takes the listener on a trip with enough musical twists and turns to keep you truly interested in the journey.

Finally the album finishes at the best place to be - "Home". Starting with a beautiful finger-picked acoustic refrain, and coloured with harmonics, I was reminded of what it is to have your feet up in front of the fire after a long day. Adding a drum pattern which, in contrast to the other drum loops used on the album, is laid back, classy and doesn't fight to crash through the tune, the track really works well. A bright hollow, oboe like lead plays a simple melody, around which bright, glassy strings and a sequenced arpeggio are wrapped, before the track breaks down again to the sound of a seriously chilled acoustic guitar. A great end to the album.

There's no doubt that Royston Vince can write some evocative and thematic music but there is also some evidence that he can noodle along without focus or purpose with the worst example being "People Horizon". Thankfully however the good tracks outnumber the bad and overall this album shows a musician with vision and a wide musical palette to draw from. So if you're looking for a soundtrack to that late night London tour, this would be ideal. Available from many download outlets including iTunes.
Review Date: January 30 2008